Changes in the strength of attachment of micro-organisms to surfaces following treatment with disinfectants and cleansing agents

Lett Appl Microbiol. 1998 Aug;27(2):101-5. doi: 10.1046/j.1472-765x.1998.00390.x.


Suspensions of Pseudomonas aeruginosa and Staphylococcus epidermidis, and biofilms established (16 h) on submerged glass and stainless steel (216 2B) coupons, were exposed to sodium hypochlorite (0.02% or 0.015% w/v), Dodigen (0.0015% w/v or 0.0006% w/v), sodium dodecylsulphate (6% w/v or 0.1% w/v) and Tween-80 (6% w/v) for 5 min at 20 degrees C. Survival was assessed by viable counts and blot succession. Biofilm bacteria were significantly less susceptible to these biocides than were planktonic cells, but their attachment to the surfaces was loosened by such treatments. Treatment with the non-ionic surfactant, Tween-80, however, strengthened the attachment of Staph. epidermidis to stainless steel. Such effects on attachment strength, which are species and surface dependent, have profound implications on post-treatment cleansing and possible re-contamination of product in clean-in-place (CIP) systems.

MeSH terms

  • Bacterial Adhesion / drug effects
  • Biofilms / drug effects*
  • Biofilms / growth & development
  • Colony Count, Microbial
  • Disinfectants / pharmacology*
  • Glass
  • Polysorbates / pharmacology
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / drug effects
  • Pseudomonas aeruginosa / physiology*
  • Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate / pharmacology
  • Sodium Hypochlorite / pharmacology*
  • Stainless Steel
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis / drug effects
  • Staphylococcus epidermidis / physiology*
  • Surface-Active Agents / pharmacology*


  • Disinfectants
  • Polysorbates
  • Surface-Active Agents
  • Stainless Steel
  • Sodium Dodecyl Sulfate
  • Sodium Hypochlorite