Microbial adhesion to poly(ethylene oxide) brushes: Influence of polymer chain length and temperature

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

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

196 Citations (Scopus)


Glass surfaces were modified by end-grafting poly(ethylene oxide) (PEO) chains having molecular weights of 526, 2000, or 9800 Da. Characterization using water contact angles, ellipsometry, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy confirmed the presence of the PEO brushes on the surface with estimated lengths in water of 2.8-, 7.5-, and 23.7-nm, respectively. Adhesion of two bacterial (Staphylococcus epidermidis and Pseudomonas aeruginosa) and two yeast (Candida albicans and Candida tropicalis) strains to these brushes was studied and compared to their adhesion to bare glass. For the bacterium P. aeruginosa and the yeast C. tropicalis, adhesion to the 2.8-nm brush was comparable to their adhesion on bare glass, whereas adhesion to the 7.5- and 23.7-nm brushes was greatly reduced. For S. epidermidis, adhesion was only slightly higher to the 2.8-nm brush than that to the longer brushes. Adhesion of the yeast C. albicans to the PEO brushes was lower than that to glass, but no differences in adhesion were found between the three brush lengths. After passage of an air bubble, nearly all microorganisms adhering to a brush were removed, irrespective of brush length, whereas retention of the adhering organisms on glass was much higher. No significant differences were found in adhesion nor retention between experiments conducted at 20 and those conducted at 37 C.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10949-10955
Issue number25
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • self-assembled monolayers
  • protein adsorption
  • polyethylene oxide
  • bacterial adhesion
  • stainless-steel
  • glycol) chains
  • surfaces
  • dependence
  • resistance
  • density


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