Role of Flagella, Type IV Pili, Biosurfactants, and Extracellular Polymeric Substance Polysaccharides on the Formation of Pellicles by Pseudomonas aeruginosa

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Abstract

Microbial biofilms are viscoelastic materials formed by bacteria, which occur on solid surfaces, at liquid interfaces, or in free solution. Although solid surface biofilms have been widely studied, pellicles, biofilms at liquid interfaces, have had significantly less focus. In this work, interfacial shear rheology and scanning electron microscopy imaging are used to characterize how flagella, type IV pili, biosurfactants, and extracellular polymeric substance polysaccharides affect the formation of pellicles by Pseudomonas aeruginosa at an air/water interface. Pellicles still form with the loss of a single biological attachment mechanism, which is hypothesized to be due to surface tension-aided attachment. Changes in the surface structure of the pellicles are observed when changing both the function/structure of type IV pili, removing the flagella, or stopping the expression of biosurfactants. However, these changes do not appear to affect pellicle elasticity in a consistent way. Traits that affect adsorption and growth/spreading appear to affect pellicles in a manner consistent with literature results for solid surface biofilms; small differences are seen in attachment-related mechanisms, which may occur due to surface tension.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5294-5304
Number of pages11
JournalLangmuir
Volume35
Issue number15
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 16 2019

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