Surface hydrophobicity of spores of Bacillus spp

J Gen Microbiol. 1989 Oct;135(10):2717-22. doi: 10.1099/00221287-135-10-2717.


The surface hydrophobicity of 12 strains of Bacillus spp. was examined in a hexadecane-aqueous partition system. Mature and germinated spores of Bacillus megaterium QM B1551 transferred to the hexadecane layer, while vegetative and sporulating cells did not. Wild-type spores were more hydrophobic than spores of an exosporium-deficient mutant of B. megaterium QM B1551, although the mutant spores were shown to be hydrophobic to some extent by using increased volumes of hexadecane. This result suggests that the exosporium is more hydrophobic than the spore coat and that the surface hydrophobicity of spores depends mainly on components of the exosporium. The surface hydrophobicity of spores of nine other species of Bacillus was also examined, and spores having an exosporium were more hydrophobic than those lacking an exosporium. Thus measurement of the hydrophobicity of spores by the hexadecane partition method may provide a simple and rapid preliminary means of determining the presence or absence of an exosporium.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Alkanes
  • Bacillus / genetics
  • Bacillus / growth & development
  • Bacillus / metabolism*
  • Bacillus megaterium / genetics
  • Bacillus megaterium / growth & development
  • Bacillus megaterium / metabolism
  • Mutation
  • Species Specificity
  • Spores, Bacterial / genetics
  • Spores, Bacterial / metabolism
  • Surface Properties
  • Water


  • Alkanes
  • Water
  • n-hexadecane