Directly measuring adhesive and elastic properties of bacteria using a surface force apparatus

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference contribution

2 Scopus citations


Bacteria are increasingly being employed as components in biosensors and biofilm reactors. It is important to understand the material properties of bacteria in dry conditions for these applications. For a decade, Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) has been the primary tool used to study the adhesion and elastic properties of individual bacteria. In this work we show it is possible to use a Surface Forces Apparatus (SFA) to measure elastic and adhesive properties of small collections of surface bound bacteria. The measurements are conducted with submonolayer, patterned bacterial films and we have developed a protocol to image the contact area with AFM after the experiment. Using the SFA, we measured the force profile between a Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 film and a bare mica surface. Pseudomonas aeruginosa PAO1 is a ubiquitous gram-negative soil bacterium and is also an opportunistic pathogen. We repeated the measurement in the same contact position for a number of days to determine the effect of desiccation on the film material properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationMicrobial Surfaces
Subtitle of host publicationStructure, Interactions, and Reactivity
PublisherAmerican Chemical Society
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9780841274303
StatePublished - May 30 2008

Publication series

NameACS Symposium Series
ISSN (Print)0097-6156
ISSN (Electronic)1947-5918

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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