Aquatic Sciences

, Volume 52, Issue 1, pp 103–114 | Cite as

Hydrophobic and electrostatic parameters in bacterial adhesion

Dedicated to Werner Stumm for his 65th birthday
  • Mark C. M. van Loosdrecht
  • Willem Norde
  • Johannes Lyklema
  • Alexander J. B. Zehnder


Recently it has been shown that the initial stages of bacterial adhesion to a model-surface of sulphated polystyrene can best be described using hydrophobic and electrostatic parameters. In the present study it is tested whether these parameters can generally be applied to predict bacterial adhesion by using (i) glass, as a model for hydrophilic and natural surfaces of silicates and oxides, (ii) polystyrene coated with proteins, as a model for a surface coated with an organic layer, and (iii) river Rhine sediment, as an example of a natural surface. Adhesion to glass was dominated by electrostatic interaction, whereas adhesion to polystyrene coated with various types of proteins depended on the surface characteristics of the bacteria and the type of protein. By relating Van der Waals interactions to hydrophobicity of the interacting species, the adhesion of bacteria to the various surfaces including the river Rhine sediments could be interpreted in terms of the DLVO-theory. It is therefore concluded that the conceptual principles of the DLVO-theory (interplay of Van der Waals and electrostatic interactions) are suitable to describe, at least qualitatively, the initial processes of bacterial adhesion to a wide range of surfaces.

Key words

Adhesion DLVO theory adhesion isotherm hydrophobic interactions electrostatic interactions protein coating 


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Copyright information

© Birkhäuser Verlag 1990

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mark C. M. van Loosdrecht
    • 1
  • Willem Norde
    • 2
  • Johannes Lyklema
    • 2
  • Alexander J. B. Zehnder
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of MicrobiologyAgricultural UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands
  2. 2.Department of Physical and Colloid ChemistryAgricultural UniversityWageningenThe Netherlands

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