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Cell surface hydrophobicity and slime production of Staphylococcus epidermidis Brazilian isolates



Cell surface hydrophobicity and slime production of Staphylococcus epidermidis Brazilian isolates



Current Microbiology 46(4): 280-286



The cell surface hydrophobicity of 60 isolates and three reference strains of Staphylococcus epidermidis was assayed by means of bacterial aggregation in liquid broth, phosphate-buffered saline, and in ammonium sulfate, as well as by affinity of the bacteria to n-hexadecane and polystyrene surfaces. In order to better characterize the isolates, the influence of bacterial growth time and enzyme treatment on cell hydrophobicity and the analysis of the slime production were also investigated. The strains presented the following profiles when assayed by the ammonium sulfate aggregation test (SAT): SAT < 1M, SAT 1M - <2M, SAT 2M - <4M, and SAT >or=4M. When SAT < 1M, the strains showed positive results for most of the cell surface hydrophobicity tests. None of the strains belonging to the groups with SAT >or= 1M showed spontaneous aggregation (SA), auto-aggregation (AA), or glass adherence, albeit 32 (62.7%) strains were polystyrene adherent and 42 (82.3%) presented weak adherence to n-hexadecane (>20%). The best correlation of the results was found among the AA and glass adherence tests (100%), followed by SA/ glass adherence (98%) and SA/ AA test (98%). The polystyrene adherence test and microbial adherence to n-hexadecane test (MATH) showed 78% correlation. Proteinase K treatment reduced bacterial adherence to polystyrene, but did not influence the SAT values. Three distinct groups of strains were distinguished by the polystyrene micromethod and glass tube adherence assay: 0.0-0.4 O.D. group, including non-glass adherent isolates; 0.5-0.7 O.D. group, including strains with variable profiles (adherent or non-adherent); and 0.8-1.3 O.D. group, composed of glass-adherent strains. Evaluation by a single method seemed not to reliably determine the surface hydrophobicity characteristics of S. epidermidis clinical isolates. Auto-aggregation properties of the strains that adhered to glass seemed related to slime expression, rather than cell surface hydrophobicity. Data also suggested involvement of protein components in adherence to polystyrene, but not in auto-aggregation properties assayed by SAT.

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Accession: 010285598

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PMID: 12732978

DOI: 10.1007/s00284-002-3868-5



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