Staphylococcus epidermidis adheres to hydrophilic glass and hydrophobic dimethyldichlorosilane (DDS)-coated glass in similar numbers, but in different modes. Real-time observation of staphylococcal adhesion under a shear rate of 15 s(-1) revealed different adhesion dynamics on both substrata. The number of adsorption and desorption events to achieve a similar number of adhering bacteria was twofold higher on hydrophilic than on hydrophobic DDS-coated glass. Moreover. 22% of all staphylococci on glass slid over the surface prior to adhering on a fixed site ("mobile adhesion mode"), but mobile adhesion was virtually absent (1%) on DDS-coated glass. Sliding preceded desorption on hydrophilic glass in about 20% of all desorption events, while on hydrophobic DDS-coated glass 2% of all staphylococci desorbed straight from their adhesion site. Since acid-base interactions between the staphylococci and a hydrophobic DDS-coating are attractive, it is suggested that these interactions facilitate a closer approach of the bacteria and therewith enhance immobile adhesion at local, high affinity sites. Alternatively, if the local site is low affinity, this may lead to desorption. In the absence of attractive acid-base interactions, as on hydrophilic glass, bacteria can be captured in the minimum of the DLVO-interaction energy curve, but this does not prevent them from sliding under flow at a fixed distance from a substratum surface until immobilization or desorption at or from a local high or low affinity site, respectively.
- bacterial adhesion
- biofilm reactors