Cell Adhesion — An Introduction
The manner in which microbial cells can adhere to solid surfaces is of importance in many branches of biotechnology and there is much research in progress investigating the factors that may contribute to such adhesion. Some of the areas necessitating this work include the design of novel bioreactors, the development of microbial systems for enhanced oil recovery and ore leaching, the study of metal corrosion processes and the penetration of concrete structures by bacteria. Consideration of cell adhesion is also relevant to both health care and agriculture, in that the early stages of infection in human and plant diseases involve the interaction of microbes with a solid surface — for example, the lining of the gut or the surface of a leaf. There is much activity in the investigation of the processes that lead to tooth decay (dental caries is the most common human disease in the UK); this is yet another instance where the early stages may involve the adhesion of bacteria to a solid surface, namely the tooth. Researchers have accumulated considerable data on the physicochemical properties of microbial cell surfaces and are now in the position of relating this extensive information to adhesion processes. This chapter discusses some of the advances that have been made in the analysis of cell-surface features of micro-organisms and the possible role played in adhesion. The discussion will be extended to non-microbial systems where this is relevant to biotechnology.
KeywordsClay Permeability Fermentation Polysaccharide Shale
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