, Volume 45, Issue 11-12, pp 1047-1055

Physical methods for characterization of microbial cell surfaces

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There are different concepts for explaining the adsorption of microorganisms to solid surfaces: the DLVO theory and the surface free energy. Basic aspects of both theories are discussed. Established methods for determining the surface properties of microbial cells are reviewed: Electrophoretic mobility, colloid titration, electrostatic interaction chromatography, bacterial adherence to hydrocarbons, partitioning in an aqueous two-phase system, hydrophobic interaction chromatography, contact angle measurement and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. They are discussed and classified according to their potential for the correlation of cell surface characteristics and adsorption behavior.