Adhesion of bacterial exopolymers to α-FeOOH: Inner-sphere complexation of phosphodiester groups

Anselm Omoike, Jon Chorover, Kideok D. Kwon, James D. Kubicki

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

129 Scopus citations


Extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) constitute a heterogeneous mixture of polyelectrolytes that mediate biomineralization and bacterial adhesion and stabilize biofilm matrixes in natural and artificial environments. Although nucleic acids are exuded extracellularly and are purported to be required for biofilm formation, direct evidence of the active mechanism is lacking. EPS were extracted from both Bacillus subtilis (a gram-positive bacterium) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (a gram-negative bacterium) and their interaction with the goethite (α-FeOOH) surface was studied using attenuated total internal reflection infrared spectroscopy. Correspondence between spectral data and quantum chemical calculations demonstrate that phosphodiester groups of nucleic acids mediate the binding of EPS to mineral surfaces. Our data indicate that these groups emerge from the EPS mixture to form monodentate complexes with Fe centers on the goethite (α-FeOOH) surface, providing an energetically stable bond for further EPS or cell adhesion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)11108-11114
Number of pages7
Issue number25
StatePublished - Dec 7 2004

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Materials Science
  • Condensed Matter Physics
  • Surfaces and Interfaces
  • Spectroscopy
  • Electrochemistry


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