A team of physicists and biologists working at Saarland University has developed a method with which they can measure the contact area between a bacterium and the surface it is ‘sitting’ on. Interestingly, and perhaps counterintuitively, a large contact area does not necessarily mean a large adhesive force. It turns out that specific features of the bacteria, which result in local differences in the composition of the proteins in the cell wall, are the main reasons for the observed differences in adhesion. These results can now be used to optimize antibacterial materials. The research work is being published today in the journal Nanoscale.
Strength of bacterial adhesion does not depend on size of contact area