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Environ Sci Technol. 2006 Mar 15;40(6):1837-42.

Cryptosporidium oocyst surface macromolecules significantly hinder oocyst attachment.

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


The role Cryptosporidium parvum oocyst surface macromolecules play in controlling oocyst adhesion (deposition) kinetics to quartz surfaces has been investigated utilizing a radial stagnation point flow system. Deposition kinetics and corresponding attachment efficiencies of viable oocysts were compared with those after treatment with a digestive enzyme (proteinase K) to cleave these surface macromolecules. Low deposition rates were observed with viable oocysts over the entire range of ionic strengths (KCl) investigated, even at ionic strengths as high as 100 mM where the Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek (DLVO) theory of colloidal stability predicts the absence of an electrostatic energy barrier. "Electrosteric" repulsion between the oocyst surface macromolecules and the quartz surface is surmised to cause these low deposition rates and attachment efficiencies. However, after removal of these surface macromolecules by the digestive enzyme, increased attachment efficiencies were observed over the entire range of ionic strengths. This significant increase in the deposition kinetics was seen despite the oocysts having a more negative zeta potential following the removal of the surface macromolecules. After treatment with proteinase K, the oocysts no longer experienced electrosteric repulsive forces, and their deposition kinetics followed the general behavior predicted by DLVO theory.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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