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Langmuir. 2004 Aug 31;20(18):7736-46.

Role of Cell Surface Lipopolysaccharides in Escherichia coli K12 adhesion and transport.

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Department of Chemical Engineering, Environmental Engineering Program, Yale University, P.O. Box 208286, New Haven, Connecticut 06520-8286, USA.


The influence of bacterial surface lipopolysaccharides (LPS) on cell transport and adhesion has been examined by use of three mutants of Escherichia coli K12 with well-characterized LPS of different lengths and molecular composition. Two experimental techniques, a packed-bed column and a radial stagnation point flow system, were employed to investigate bacterial adhesion kinetics onto quartz surfaces over a wide range of solution ionic strengths. Although the two systems capture distinct deposition (adhesion) mechanisms because of their different hydrodynamics, similar deposition kinetics trends were observed for each bacterial strain. Bacterial deposition rates were directly related to the electrostatic double layer interaction between the bacteria and quartz surfaces, in qualitative agreement with classic Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek (DLVO) theory. However, DLVO theory does not fully explain the deposition behavior for the bacterial strain with the lengthy, uncharged O-antigen portion of the LPS. Neither the length nor the charge characteristics of the LPS molecule directly correlated to deposition kinetics, suggesting a complex combination of cell surface charge heterogeneity and LPS composition controls the bacterial adhesive characteristics. It is further suggested that bacterial deposition behavior is determined by the combined influence of DLVO interactions, LPS-associated chemical interactions, and the hydrodynamics of the deposition system.

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