Stochasticity of bacterial attachment and its predictability by the extended Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek theory

Teck Raymond Chia, Vu Nguyen, Thomas McMeekin, Narelle Fegan, Gary Dykes

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

33 Citations (Scopus)


Bacterial attachment onto materials has been suggested to be stochastic by some authors but nonstochastic and based on surface properties by others. We investigated this by attaching pairwise combinations of two Salmonella enterica serovar Sofia (S. Sofia) strains (with different physicochemical and attachment properties) with one strain each of S. enterica serovar Typhimurium, S. enterica serovar Infantis, or S. enterica serovar Virchow (all with similar physicochemical and attachment abilities) in ratios of 0.428, 1, and 2.333 onto glass, stainless steel, Teflon, and polysulfone. Attached bacterial cells were recovered and counted. If the ratio of attached cells of each Salmonella serovar pair recovered was the same as the initial inoculum ratio, the attachment process was deemed stochastic. Experimental outcomes from the study were compared to those predicted by the extended Derjaguin-Landau-Verwey-Overbeek (XDLVO) theory. Significant differences (P <0.05) between the initial and the attached ratios for serovar pairs containing S. Sofia S1296a for all different ratios were apparent for all materials. For S. Sofia S1635-containing pairs, 7 out of 12 combinations of serovar pairs and materials had attachment ratios not significantly different (P > 0.05) from the initial ratio of 0.428. Five out of 12 and 10 out of 12 samples had attachment ratios not significantly different (P > 0.05) from the initial ratios of 1 and 2.333, respectively. These results demonstrate that bacterial attachment to different materials is likely to be nonstochastic only when the key physicochemical properties of the bacteria were significantly different (P <0.05) from each other. XDLVO theory could successfully predict the attachment of some individual isolates to particular materials but could not be used to predict the likelihood of stochasticity in pairwise attachment experiments.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3757 - 3764
Number of pages8
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 2011

Cite this