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ACS Appl Mater Interfaces. 2016 Nov 9;8(44):30430-30439. Epub 2016 Oct 27.

Staphylococcal Adhesion, Detachment and Transmission on Nanopillared Si Surfaces.

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Department of Mechanical Engineering, Stevens Institute of Technology , Castle Point on Hudson, Hoboken, New Jersey 07030, United States.
University of Groningen and University Medical Center Groningen , Department of Biomedical Engineering (FB40), Antonius Deusinglaan 1, 9713 AV Groningen, The Netherlands.


Nanostructured surfaces are extensively considered with respect to their potential impact on bacterial adhesion from aqueous suspensions or air, but in real-life bacteria are often transmitted between surfaces. Mechanistically, transmission involves detachment of adhering bacteria from a donor and adhesion to a receiver surface, controlled by the relative values of the adhesion forces exerted by both surfaces. We here relate staphylococcal adhesion, detachment and transmission to, from, and between smooth and nanopillared-Si surfaces with staphylococcal adhesion forces. Nanopillared-Si surfaces were prepared with pillar-to-pillar distances of 200, 400, and 800 nm. On smooth surfaces, staphylococcal adhesion forces, measured using bacterial-probe Atomic-Force-Microscopy, amounted to 4.4-6.8 and 1.8-2.1 nN (depending on the AFM-loading force) for extracellular-polymeric-substances (EPS) producing and non-EPS producing strains, respectively. Accordingly the EPS producing strain adhered in higher numbers than the non-EPS producing strain. Fractional adhesion forces on nanopillared-Si surfaces relative to the smooth surface ranged from 0.30 to 0.95, depending on AFM-loading force, strain and pillar-to-pillar distance. However, for each strain, the number of adhering bacteria remained similar on all nanopillared surfaces. Detachment of adhering staphylococci decreased significantly with increasing adhesion forces, while staphylococcal transmission to a receiver surface also decreased with increasing adhesion force exerted by the donor. In addition, the strain with ability to produce EPS was killed in high percentages and induced to produce EPS during transmission on nanopillared-Si surfaces, presumably by high local cell-wall stresses. This must be accounted for in applications of nanostructured surfaces: whereas killing may be favorable, EPS production may reduce antimicrobial efficacy.


adhesion force; atomic force microscopy; bacterial adhesion; bacterial detachment; bacterial transmission; nanostructured surfaces; pressure-induced EPS; staphylococci

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