Cell Adhesion — An Introduction

  • Stuart W. Shales


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.


Cell Adhesion Solid Surface Dental Caries Adhesive Process General Microbiology 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. 1.
    Abbott, A., Rutter, P. R. and Berkeley, R. C. W. (1983). The influence of ionic strength, pH and a protein layer on the interaction between Streptococcus mutans and glass surfaces. Journal of General Microbiology, 129, 439–445Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Alexander, M. (1977). Introduction to Soil Microbiology, 2nd edn. Wiley, New York, p.4Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Foth, H. D. and Turk, L. M. (1972). Fundamentals of Soil Science. Wiley, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  4. 4.
    Jang, L. K., Chang, P. W., Findley, J. E. and Yen, T. F. (1983). Selection of bacteria with favourable transport properties through porous rock for the application of microbial enhanced oil recovery. Applied and Environmental Microbiology, 46, 1066–1072Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Marshall, K. C. (1976). Interfaces in Microbial Ecology. Harvard University Press, Cambridge, Mass.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    New, P. B., Scott, J. J., Ireland, C. R., Farrand, S. K., Lippincott, B. B. and Lippincott, J. A. (1983). Plasmid pSa causes loss of LPS-mediated adherence in Agrobacterium. Journal of General Microbiology, 129, 3657–3660Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Pringle, J. H., Fletcher, M. and Ellwood, D. C. (1983). Selection of attachment mutants during the continuous culture of Pseudomonas fluorescens and the relationship between attachment ability and surface composition. Journal of General Microbiology, 129, 2557–2569Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Van Haecht, J. L., De Bremaeker, M. and Rouxhet, P. G. (1984). Immobilization of yeast to a support without the use of a chemical agent. Enzyme and Microbial Technology, 6, 221–227CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. 9.
    Wardell, J. H., Brown, C. M. and Flannigan, B. (1983). Microbes and surfaces. In Microbes in Their Natural Environments (J. H. Slater, R. Whittenbury and J. W. T. Wimpenny, Eds.). Symposium 34, published for the Society for General Microbiology by Cambridge University Press, pp. 351–378Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Zobell, C. E. and Anderson, D. Q. (1936). Observations on the multiplication of bacteria in different volumes of stored sea water and the influence of oxygen tension and solid surfaces. Biological Bulletin, 71, 324–342CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© The Editor and the Contributors 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • Stuart W. Shales

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations