Microbe repelling coated stainless steel analysed by field emission scanning electron microscopy and physicochemical methods

  • Mari Raulio
  • Mikael Järn
  • Juhana Ahola
  • Jouko Peltonen
  • Jarl B. Rosenholm
  • Sanna Tervakangas
  • Jukka Kolehmainen
  • Timo Ruokolainen
  • Pekka Narko
  • Mirja Salkinoja-Salonen
Original Paper


Coating of stainless steel with diamond-like carbon or certain fluoropolymers reduced or almost eliminated adhesion and biofilm growth of Staphylococcus epidermidis, Deinococcus geothermalis, Meiothermus silvanus and Pseudoxanthomonas taiwanensis. These species are known to be pertinent biofilm formers on medical implants or in the wet-end of paper machines. Field emission scanning electron microscopic analysis showed that Staph. epidermidis, D. geothermalis and M. silvanus grew on stainless steel using thread-like organelles for adhesion and biofilm formation. The adhesion threads were fewer in number on fluoropolymer-coated steel than on plain steel and absent when the same strains were grown in liquid culture. Psx. taiwanensis adhered to the same surfaces by a mechanism involving cell ghosts on which the biofilm of live cells grew. Hydrophilic (diamond-like carbon) or hydrophobic (fluoropolymer) coatings reduced the adherence of the four test bacteria on different steels. Selected topographic parameters, including root-mean-square roughness (Sq), skewness (Ssk) and surface kurtosis (Sku), were analysed by atomic force microscopy. The surfaces that best repelled microbial adhesion of the tested bacteria had higher skewness values than those only slightly repelling. Water contact angle, measured (θm) or roughness corrected (θy), affected the tendency for biofilm growth in a different manner for the four test bacteria.


Ultrastructure Bacterial adhesion Field emission scanning electron microscope (FESEM) Physicochemical parameters Contact angle Topographic analysis 



This work was funded as a part of the Technology Programme Clean Surfaces 2002–2006 (PINTA) by the Finnish Funding Agency for Technology and Innovation (Tekes). We also thank the Academy of Finland for the Centre of Excellence grant (53305, MSS), Helsinki University Viikki Science Library for excellent information services, the Faculty of Agriculture and Forestry Instrument Centre for technical support and Leena Steininger, Hannele Tukiainen and Tuula Suortti for many kinds of help.


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Copyright information

© Society for Industrial Microbiology 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mari Raulio
    • 1
  • Mikael Järn
    • 2
  • Juhana Ahola
    • 1
  • Jouko Peltonen
    • 2
  • Jarl B. Rosenholm
    • 2
  • Sanna Tervakangas
    • 3
  • Jukka Kolehmainen
    • 3
  • Timo Ruokolainen
    • 4
  • Pekka Narko
    • 4
  • Mirja Salkinoja-Salonen
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Applied Chemistry and MicrobiologyUniversity of HelsinkiHelsinkiFinland
  2. 2.Department of Physical ChemistryÅbo Akademi UniversityTurkuFinland
  3. 3.DIARC-Technology IncEspooFinland
  4. 4.Alu-Releco OyRiihimäkiFinland

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