Author(s): Peterson BW, Sharma PK, van der Mei HC, Busscher HJ
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Abstract Centrifugal damage has been known to alter bacterial cell surface properties and interior structures, including DNA. Very few studies exist on bacterial damage caused by centrifugation because of the difficulty in relating centrifugation speed and container geometry to the damage caused. Here, we provide a simple, versatile method of analysis for describing the compaction of bacteria during centrifugation based on a proposed centrifugation coefficient, C. Values of C can be related to different bacterial cell surface properties. Changing the geometry of the centrifugation container or centrifugation speeds changed the value of C significantly. Initial deposition rates of Staphylococcus aureus ATCC 12600 to a glass surface decayed exponentially from 4,217 to 1,478 cm⁻² s⁻¹ with increasing C, while the proportion of staphylococci with a zeta potential of around -15 mV decreased from 97 to 58\%. These surface-sensitive parameters were used independently to derive a critical centrifugation coefficient (0.040), above which centrifugation was considered to impact the outcome of surface-sensitive experiments due to cell surface damage. The critical centrifugation coefficient could successfully predict staphylococcal cell surface damage, i.e., a significant change in initial deposition rate or zeta potential distribution, in 84\% of all cases included here, whereas the centrifugation speed could predict damage in only 58\% of all cases. Moreover, controlling the centrifugation coefficient within narrow limits over a series of experiments yielded 43\% smaller standard deviations in initial staphylococcal deposition rates than with centrifugation at fixed speeds for replicate experiments.
This article was published in Appl Environ Microbiol
and referenced in Journal of Bioremediation & Biodegradation