Attachment of bacteria to model solid surfaces: oligo(ethylene glycol) surfaces inhibit bacterial attachment

FEMS Microbiol Lett. 1996 Aug 15;142(1):59-63. doi: 10.1111/j.1574-6968.1996.tb08408.x.


Bacterial cell attachment to the surfaces of self-assembled monolayers formed by the adsorption of omega-substituted alkanethiols on transparent gold films has been studied under defined bacterial culture and flow conditions. Phase contrast microscopy was used to quantify the attachment of two organisms, one of medical (Staphylococcus epidermidis) and one of marine (Deleya marina) importance. Self-assembled monolayers terminated with hexa(ethylene glycol), methyl, carboxylic acid and fluorocarbon groups were investigated. Over the range of experimental conditions, self-assembled monolayers formed from HS(CH2)11(OCH2CH2)6OH were found to be uniformly resistant to bacterial attachment, with a 99.7% reduction of attachment for both organisms when compared to the most fouled surface for each organism. On other surfaces, S. epidermidis and D. marina were shown to exhibit very different attachment responses to the wettability of the substratum. While the attachment of S. epidermidis correlated positively with surface hydrophilicity, D. marina showed a preference for hydrophobic surfaces. This study suggests that surfaces incorporating high densities of oligo(ethylene glycol) are good candidates for surfaces that interact minimally with bacteria.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Adhesion / drug effects*
  • Ethylene Glycols / chemistry
  • Ethylene Glycols / pharmacology*
  • Gram-Negative Aerobic Bacteria / drug effects
  • Gram-Negative Aerobic Bacteria / growth & development
  • Models, Biological
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis / drug effects
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis / growth & development
  • Surface Properties


  • Ethylene Glycols