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Microbiol Immunol. 1992;36(10):1019-27.

The effects of magnesium, calcium, EDTA, and pH on the in vitro adhesion of Staphylococcus epidermidis to plastic.

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Department of Pathology, Children's Hospital of Wisconsin, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee.


The effects of increasing concentrations of magnesium (Mg2+), calcium (Ca2+) or EDTA, and pH on the adhesion of five slime-positive strains of Staphylococcus epidermidis (Se+) to plastic were examined using an in vitro microwell assay. The addition of Mg2+ (as either MgSO4 or MgCl2) to the bacterial suspension in concentrations as low as 16 microM significantly enhanced the adhesion of all test strains to plastic (P < 0.001). Similarly, the addition of Ca2+ (as CaCl2) in concentrations exceeding 128 microM produced a significant increase in the adhesion of all test strains, but not to the extent observed with Mg2+. In contrast, the adhesion of all test strains to plastic was significantly reduced in the presence of EDTA at concentrations greater than 8 mM. However, EDTA in concentrations as low as 0.25 mM caused a significant decrease in the adhesion of two strains of Se+. The effect of pH was variable, but at a pH of 5.0 and 6.0, the adhesion of all test strains was significantly reduced compared to control values at a pH of 7.0. Two strains showed a significant increase in adhesion at a pH of 8.0. We also compared the effects of these variables on the adherence of a slime-negative phase variant derived from a slime-positive parent strain. With the exception of pH, the adhesion of both strains in response to increasing divalent cations or EDTA was similar. These data indicate that, in addition to hydrophobic interactions, ligand-specific binding, and slime production, pH and divalent cations, especially Mg2+, are important determinants of the adhesion of S. epidermidis to plastic surfaces in vitro.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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