Adhesion Kinetics of Biofilms on Biomaterial Surfaces using Nanotechnology

Understanding the Adhesion Kinetics of Biofilms on Food Contact Surfaces using Nanotechnology

Biofouling on food industry equipment leads to economic losses from corrosion, equipment impairment, and reduced heat transfer efficiency.  Common food contact surfaces such as stainless steel are robust; however, they can encourage bacterial attachment and subsequent biofilm formation.  Attachment of bacteria on food contact surfaces is the first step towards biofilm development.  The overall goal of this research is to better understand the interaction between the microorganisms, Pseudomonas aeruginosa and methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA), and substrates on which these microorganisms adhere.  The relation between the bacterial cell surface electrokinetic potential at the nanoscale, and the ability of these microorganisms to attach to stainless steel and gold surfaces was assessed through Atomic Force Microscopy and Kelvin Probe Force Microscopy.

AFM results showed that no microbial attachment occurred after 3 hours of incubation on non-functionalized surfaces while poly-L-lysine functionalized surfaces showed microbial attachment after 30 minutes.  Poly-L-lysine is a common food preservative and can act as a microbial attachment factor depending on bond orientation.  KPFM data revealed positive surface potentials on stainless steel compared to negative surface charges on gold surfaces.  Pseudomonas aeruginosa showed larger membrane potentials than MRSA, with MRSA showing noticeably different membrane potentials between gold and stainless steel surfaces.

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Bionanotechnology Laboratory
Suresh Neethirajan

School of Engineering
University of Guelph
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