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Colloids Surf B Biointerfaces. 2006 May 1;49(2):126-35. Epub 2006 Apr 18.

Shear-flow induced detachment of Saccharomyces cerevisiae from stainless steel: influence of yeast and solid surface properties.

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  • 1Laboratoire de Biotechnologie-Bioprocédés UMR CNRS 5504 - UMR INRA 792, INSA, 135 avenue de Rangueil, 31 077 Toulouse cedex 4, France.


The present study focused on the shear-induced detachment of Saccharomyces cerevisiae in adhesive contact with a 316L stainless steel surface using a shear stress flow chamber, with a view to determining the respective influence of the yeast surface properties and the support characteristics. The effect of cultivation of S. cerevisiae yeast cells on their subsequent detachment from the solid surface was particularly investigated. In order to elucidate the role of stainless steel, non-metallic supports were used as control, covering a broad range of surface properties such as surface free energy and roughness: polypropylene (hydrophobic), polystyrene (mildly hydrophobic, similar to stainless steel) and glass (hydrophilic). All materials were very smooth with respect to the size of yeast. First, experiments were carried out on two types of yeast cells, just rehydrated in saline solution, a biological model widely used in the literature. The influence of the ionic strength (1.5 and 150 mM NaCl) on glass and stainless steel was evaluated. Unlike on glass, no clear evidence was found for electrostatic repulsion with stainless steel since high adhesion was observed whatever the ionic strength. A lack of correlation in adhesion results was also obtained when considering the surface physico-chemical characteristics of type I (hydrophilic) and type II (hydrophobic) rehydrated cells and those of both polymers. It was postulated that unavoidable "sticky" compounds were present on the cell wall, which could not be completely removed during the successive washings of the rehydrated cell suspension before use. This could dramatically alter the yeast surface properties and modify the adhesion strength, thus clearly demonstrating the necessity to work with yeast coming from fresh cultures. Biologically active yeast cells were then used. Once cultured, type I- and type II-yeast cells were shown to exhibit the same hydrophilic properties. Regardless of the material used, for the same ionic strength (150 mM NaCl), yeast adhesion was drastically reduced compared to rehydrated yeast cells. Among all the materials tested, the specificity of 316L stainless steel was clearly established. Indeed, for glass and polymers, cell adhesion was substratum-dependent and driven by the balance between the Lifshitz-van der Waals and Lewis acid/base interactions. Despite nearly identical surface free energies for polystyrene and stainless steel, the metallic surface promoted a totally distinct behaviour which was characterized by a strong - although highly variable - yeast adhesion.

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