An investigation of microbial adhesion to natural and synthetic polysaccharide-based films and its relationship with the surface energy components

  • Polina Prokopovich
  • Stefano PerniEmail author


In recent years, polysaccharide-based films have been developed for many applications. Some of these are in the pharmaceutical industry, where the adhesion of microorganisms to surfaces is a concern. After adhesion of a microorganism to a solid surface has taken place, the subsequent biofilm formed can act as a vehicle for spreading infections. The aim of this study is to compare the bacterial adhesion of E. coli and S. aureus from a contaminated solid model (Tryptone Soya Agar) to a range of polysaccharide-based films. These polysaccharide-based films consist of different natural starches (potato, cassava, wheat, pea and rice) and synthetic polymers hydroxyl-propyl cellulose (HPC) and carboxyl methyl cellulose (CMC)). The surface energy parameters of the films were calculated from the contact angle measurements by the sessile drop method. Apolar and polar liquids (water, formamide and hexadecane) and the Lifshitz-Van der Waals/acid-base (LW/AB) approach were used according to the method of Van Oss, Chaundhury and Good. The surface properties of the films were also correlated to the microbial adhesion. This indicated that, for both E. coli and S. aureus, the surface roughness did not affect the microbial adhesion. Only \( \gamma _{\text{S}}^{\text{AB}} \) had any correlation with the microbial adhesion and \( \gamma _{\text{S}}^{\text{LW}} \) was almost constant for all the various polysaccharide films tested. In addition, the electron—donor properties of the materials, exhibited via \( \gamma _{\text{S}}^{ + } \), were positively correlated with the adhesion of S. aureus but not with E. coli. This was in agreement with the results of the MATS (Microbial Adhesion To Solvents) test performed on the two bacteria. This revealed that only S. aureus presented an electron—acceptor characteristic.


Contact Angle Cassava Amylose Surface Free Energy Hexadecane 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors thank Dr. Richard Toon for his useful suggestions and helpful comments.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The School of BiosciencesThe University of NottinghamLoughboroughUK
  2. 2.Wolfson School of Mechanical and Manufacturing EngineeringLoughborough UniversityLoughboroughUK
  3. 3.Eastman Dental Institute – Microbial Diseases DivisionUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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