Inhibition of adhesion of yeasts and bacteria by poly(ethylene oxide-)brushes on glass in a parallel plate flow chamber

A.M. Roosjen, H.J. Kaper, H.C. van der Mei, W. Norde, H.J. Busscher

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117 Citations (Scopus)


Poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO)-brushes are generally recognized as protein-repellent surfaces, and although a role in discouraging microbial adhesion has been established for some strains and species, no study exists on the effects of PEO-brushes on a large variety of bacterial and yeast strains. In this paper, a PEO-brush has been covalently attached to glass and silica by reaction in a polymer melt. Subsequently, the presence of a PEO-brush was demonstrated using contact angle measurements, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and ellipsometry. For five bacterial (Staphylococcus epidermidis, Staphylococcus aureus, Streptococcus salivarius, Escherichia coli and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) and two yeast strains (Candida albicans and Candida tropicalis), adhesion to PEO-brushes was compared with adhesion to bare glass in a parallel plate flow chamber. The initial deposition rates of Sta. epidermidis, Sta. aureus and Str. salivarius to glass were relatively high, between 2400 and 2600 cm-2 s-1, while E. coli and P. aeruginosa deposited much more slowly. The initial deposition rates of the yeasts to glass were 144 and 444 cm-2 s-1 for C. albicans GB 1/2 and C. tropicalis GB 9/9, respectively. Coating of the glass surface with a PEO-brush yielded more than 98 % reduction in bacterial adhesion, although for the more hydrophobic P. aeruginosa a smaller reduction was observed. For both yeast species adhesion suppression was less effective than for the bacteria and here too the more hydrophobic C. tropicalis showed less reduction than the more hydrophilic C. albicans. The PEO-brush had a thickness of 22 nm in water, as inferred from ellipsometry. Assuming that on bare glass the adhered micro-organisms are positioned only a few nanometers away from the surface and that the brush keeps them at a distance of 22 nm, it is calculated that the brush yields a sevenfold attenuation of the Lifshitz–Van der Waals attraction to the surface between the micro-organisms and the surface. Decreased Lifshitz–van der Waals attraction may be responsible for the suppression of the microbial adhesion observed.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3239-3246
Publication statusPublished - 2003


  • microbial adhesion
  • voice prostheses
  • silicone-rubber
  • surfaces
  • brushes
  • contamination
  • biomaterial
  • adsorption
  • chemistry
  • growth

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