Monitoring early stages of bacterial adhesion at silica surfaces through image analysis




Sun, Victor

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Understanding bacterial adhesion and biofilm formations on abiotic surfaces are important biological processes that affect the growth of bacteria, with its far-spreading impacts on in everyday life, either as a benefactor or as an inhibitor. To study these bacterial interactions, tools to probe these interfaces are also important to provide further means for discovery of the adhesion mechanisms. In this thesis, a customized imaging platform was developed, utilizing brightfield microscopy to study E. coli K12 on silica surfaces over the stages of bacteria growth. Results observed bacteria adhering onto silica surfaces in a preferential pattern to already existing bacteria-adhered colonies. This suggest that bacteria, once adhered to the surface, enhance attraction of other planktonic bacteria. The platform was designed to enable concurrent Raman measurements, with further optimization required in order to enhance the Raman signals from individual cells. Results from this study provide strong evidence to link changes in interfacial water structure with previous surface vibrational spectroscopy experiments, where the surface coverage of bacteria was found to reach a maximum earlier in the stages of growth compared to the surface water response, indicating that adhesion alone is not the primary contributing factor to modification of the surface microenvironment.



chemistry, bacterial adhesion, biophysics