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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1982 Jul;44(1):184-92.

Bubble contact angle method for evaluating substratum interfacial characteristics and its relevance to bacterial attachment.

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  • 1Department of Environmental Sciences, University of Warwick, Coventry CV4 7AL, England.


A bubble contact angle method was used to determine interfacial free-energy characteristics of polystyrene substrata in the presence and absence of potential surface-conditioning proteins (bovine glycoprotein, bovine serum albumin, fatty acid-free bovine serum albumin), a bacterial culture supernatant, and a bacterial exopolymer. Clean petri dish substrata gave a contact angle of 90 degrees , but tissue culture dish substrata were more hydrophilic, giving an angle of 29 degrees or less. Bubble contact angles at the surfaces exposed to the macromolecular solutions varied with the composition and concentration of the solution. Modification by pronase enzymes of the conditioning effect of proteins depended on the nature of both the substratum and the protein, as well as the time of addition of the enzyme relative to the conditioning of the substratum. The effects of dissolved and substratum-adsorbed proteins on the attachment of Pseudomonas sp. strain NCMB 2021 to petri dishes and tissue culture dishes were consistent with changes in bubble contact angles (except when proteins were adsorbed to tissue culture dishes before attachment) as were alterations in protein-induced inhibition of bacterial attachment to petri dishes by treatment with pronase. Differences between the attachment of pseudomonads to petri dishes and tissue culture dishes suggested that different mechanisms of adhesion are involved at the surfaces of these two substrata.

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