Effect of bacterial, urine and substratum surface tension properties on bacterial adhesion to biomaterials

Gregor Reid, H. Stephen Beg, Carol A.K. Preston, Lesleyann Hawthorn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


A type I and P fimbriated uropathogenic Escherichia coli Hu734 was found to be more hydrophilic than Staphylococcus epidermidis 1938 and Lactobacillus acidophilus T-13. The correlation with substrata surface tension and adhesion was linear only for the lactobacillus. There was no evidence that patients with a history of recurrent urinary tract infections had urinary surface tensions consistently higher or lower than healthy controls. However, relative surface tensions differed by up to 21 mJ·m-2between urine samples from patients. Free energy of adhesion values demonstrated that bacterial culture conditions could alter the adhesion potential. In addition, hydrophilic E. coli were found more likely to adhere to hydrophilic substrata in urine of low surface tension. L. acidophilus T-13 were more likely to adhere to biomaterials than E. coli, when the urinary surface tension was high. The findings indicate the complexity of the process of bacterial adhesion related to catheter-associated urinary tract infections.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)171-176
Number of pages6
Issue number1-3
StatePublished - Aug 1 1991
Externally publishedYes


  • Bacterial adhesion
  • polymers
  • urine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Water Science and Technology


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