Bacterial adhesion and growth on a polymer brush-coating

M.R. Nejadnik, H.C. van der Mei, W. Norde, H.J. Busscher

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

158 Citations (Scopus)


Biomaterials-related infections pose serious problems in implant surgery, despite the development of non-adhesive coatings. Non-adhesive coatings, like polymer brush-coatings, have so far only been investigated with respect to preventing initial bacterial adhesion, but never with respect to effects on kinetics of bacterial growth. Here, we compare adhesion and 20 h growth of three bacterial strains (Staphylococcus aureus, Staphylococcus epidermidis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) on pristine and brush-coated silicone rubber in a parallel plate flow chamber. Brush-coatings were made using a tri-block copolymer of polyethylene oxide (PEO) and polypropylene oxide (PPO). Brush-coatings prevented adhesion of staphylococci to below 5 x 105 cm(-2) after 30 min, which is a 10-fold reduction compared to pristine silicone rubber. Biofilms grew on both brush-coated and pristine silicone rubber, while the viability of biofilms on brush-coatings was higher than on pristine silicone rubber. However biofilms on, brush-coatings developed more slowly and detached almost fully by high fluid shear. Brush-coating remained non-adhesive after S. epidermidis biofilm formation and subsequent removal whereas a part of its functionality was lost after removal of S. aureus biofilms. Adhesion, growth and detachment of P. aeruginosa were not significantly different on brush-coatings as compared with pristine silicone rubber, although here too the viability of biofilms on brush-coatings was higher. We conclude that polymer brush-coatings strongly reduce initial adhesion of staphylococci and delay their biofilm growth. In addition, biofilms on brush-coatings are more viable and easily removed by the application of fluid shear.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4117-4121
Issue number30
Publication statusPublished - 2008


  • microbial adhesion
  • poly(ethylene glycol)
  • protein adsorption
  • surface
  • inhibition
  • infection
  • copolymers
  • microscopy
  • chamber
  • density

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