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J Colloid Interface Sci. 2004 Mar 15;271(2):342-50.

Study of bioadhesion on a flat plate with a yeast/glass model system.

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Laboratoire de Biotechnologie et Bioprocédés, UMR CNRS 5504 UMR INRA 792, INSA, 135, avenue de Rangueil, 31077 Toulouse Cedex 4, France.


The attachment of microorganisms to a surface is a critical first step of biofilm fouling in membrane processes. The shear-induced detachment of baker's yeast in adhesive contact with a plane glass surface was thus experimentally studied, using a specially designed shear stress flow chamber. The yeast was marketed either as rod-shaped pellets (type I yeast) or as spherical pellets (type II yeast). A complete series of experiments for measuring the shear stress necessary to detach a given proportion of individual yeast cells of type I or II was performed under different environmental conditions (ionic strength, contact time). In parallel, the surface physicochemical properties of the cells (surface charge, hydrophobicity, and electron donor and electron acceptor components) were determined. For the first type of yeast cells, which were rather hydrophilic, adhesion to the glass plate was weak. This was due to both electrostatic effects and hydrophilic repulsion. Furthermore, adhesion was not sensitive to any variation of the ionic strength. For yeast of the second type, adhesion was drastically increased. This could be explained by their physicochemical surface properties and especially their hydrophobic and electron acceptor components, which caused strong attractive van der Waals and Lewis acid-base interactions, counterbalancing the electrostatic repulsion. For increasing ionic strengths, adhesion was greater, due to lower electrostatic repulsion. The results were quantified through the definition of a critical wall shear stress ( tau w 50% ) required to detach 50% of the yeast cells initially deposited on the glass surface. The influence of the contact time was also evaluated and it was shown that, whatever the type of yeast, macromolecules such as proteins were released into the extracellular medium due to cell lysis and could contribute to the formation of a conditioning film. As a result, the cells were more strongly stuck to the glass plate.

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