Archives of Microbiology

, Volume 131, Issue 4, pp 308–312 | Cite as

Hydrophobic and electrostatic characterization of surface structures of bacteria and its relationship to adhesion to an air-water interface

  • Malte Hermansson
  • Staffan Kjelleberg
  • Timo K. Korhonen
  • Thor-Axel Stenström
Original Papers


Hydrophobic and charge-charge interactions of Salmonella typhimirium and Serratia marcescens were determined and related to their content of fimbriae and lipopolysaccharide (LPS). The cell surface structures were characterized with hydrophobic interaction chromatography (HIC), electrostatic interaction chromatography (ESIC) and particle electrophoresis measurements. The degree of interaction at the air-water interface was tested using a monolayered lipid film applied to an aqueous surface. The cell surface hydrophobicity of S. typhimurium in the presence of fimbriae was less in smooth than in rought bacteria. Examination of a series of rough mutants of S. typhimurium indicates that reduction of the O-side chain and core oligosaccharides was correlated with increased cell hydrophobicity. The enrichment factors at the air-water interface were significantly higher for fimbriated than for non-fimbriated S. typhimurium cells. Fimbriated S. marcescens cells were less hydrophobic and adhered to a lesser degree at the air-water surface than non-fimbriated counterparts. Electrophoretic measurements and adsorption to ion exchangers gives different information about the surface charge of bacteria. The latter technique gives the interaction between localized charged surfaces.

Key words

Hydrophobicity Charge-charge interactions Fimbriae Lipopolysaccharides Air-water interface Bacterial adhesion Salmonella typhimurium Serratia marcescens 



hydrophobic interaction chromatography


electrostatic interaction chromatography




phosphate buffered saline solution


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1982

Authors and Affiliations

  • Malte Hermansson
    • 1
  • Staffan Kjelleberg
    • 1
  • Timo K. Korhonen
    • 2
  • Thor-Axel Stenström
    • 3
  1. 1.Department of Marine Microbiology, Botanical InstituteUniversity of GöteborgGöteborgSweden
  2. 2.Department of General MicrobiologyUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  3. 3.National Bacteriological LaboratoryStockholmSweden

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