Microflora on explanted silicone rubber voice prostheses: taxonomy, hydrophobicity and electrophoretic mobility

J Appl Bacteriol. 1994 May;76(5):521-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1365-2672.1994.tb01111.x.


Silicone rubber voice prostheses are implants which are inserted in a non-sterile environment and therefore become quickly colonized by micro-organisms. The micro-organisms exist on the medical grade silicone rubber as mixed biofilms of bacteria and yeasts. A total of 79 bacterial and 39 yeast strains were isolated from these biofilms by soft ultrasonic treatment. Gram-positive/catalase-negative and Gram-positive/catalase-positive cocci represented the dominant bacterial strains. The yeasts were mainly Candida species. Further characterization of cell surface properties such as hydrophobicity by microbial adhesion to hexadecane and electrophoretic mobility showed a distinct difference when the bacterial strains were compared with the yeasts. The bacterial hydrophobicities ranged from 0 to 100% adhesion to hexadecane, whereas the yeast strains, especially the Candida albicans strains, all had markedly hydrophilic cell surfaces. A comparison of the electrophoretic mobilities showed also differences between bacteria and yeast. The values for the bacteria were found to be between -2.5 to -0.5 (10(-8) m2 V-1 s-1), whereas for the yeasts electrophoretic mobilities were more positive. Based on the adhesive properties of the isolated micro-organisms, strategies can now be developed to modify the properties of the silicone rubber to reduce biofilm formation on such prostheses.

MeSH terms

  • Candida / isolation & purification*
  • Gram-Positive Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Humans
  • Larynx, Artificial*
  • Prosthesis Failure*
  • Silicone Elastomers


  • Silicone Elastomers