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Sequential hydrophobic partitioning of cells of Pseudomonas aeruginosa gives rise to variants of increasing cell-surface hydrophobicity

Obuekwe, Christian O., Al-Jadi, Zamya K., Al-Saleh, Esmaeil S.
FEMS microbiology letters 2007 v.270 no.2 pp. 214-219
Pseudomonas aeruginosa, bacteria, bacterial adhesion, electron microscopy, fimbriae, hydrophilicity, hydrophobic interaction chromatography, hydrophobicity, polysaccharides, polystyrenes
The partitioning of bacterial cells in a dual aqueous-solvent phase system leads to separation into 'hydrophilic' and hydrophobic functions. Sequential multistep partitioning, accompanied by successive enrichment, gives rise to several cycles of hydrophobic and hydrophilic cell populations which possess different cell-surface hydrophobicity characteristics. Characterization of the cell-surface hydrophobicity by several methods (salting-out aggregation test, bacterial adherence to hydrocarbon, polystyrene binding and hydrophobic interaction chromatography) was carried out. The cell-surface hydrophobicity varied in the order: hydrophilic fraction < parental strain < first cycle hydrophobic variant < second cycle hydrophobic variant < third cycle hydrophobic variant. Electron microscopy showed that the most hydrophobic variant was densely covered by hydrophobic structures - fimbriae - whereas the parental strain was covered by a mixture of surface structures. The hydrophilic variant was covered by an amorphous exopolymeric substance, which is a polysaccharide, shown by its reaction with Alcian blue.