To understand the role of surface-wettability on adhesion of cells, the attachment of two different marine algae was studied on hydrophobic and hydrophilic polymer surfaces. Adhesion of cells of the diatom Navicula and sporelings (young plants) of the green macroalga Ulva to an under-water surface is mainly by interactions between the surface and the adhesive exopolymers, which the cells secrete upon settlement and during subsequent colonization and growth. Two types of block copolymers, one with poly(ethylene glycol) side chains, and the other with liquid-crystalline, fluorinated side chains were used to prepare the hydrophilic and hydrophobic surfaces, respectively. The formation of a liquid-crystalline smectic phase in the latter inhibited molecular reorganization at the surface, which is generally an issue when a highly hydrophobic surface is in contact with water. The adhesion strength was assessed by the fraction of settled cells (Navicula) or biomass (Ulva) that detached from the surface in a water flow channel with a wall shear-stress of 53 Pa. The two species exhibited opposite adhesion behavior on the same sets of surfaces. While Navicula cells released more easily from hydrophilic surfaces, Ulva sporelings showed higher removal from hydrophobic surfaces. This highlights the importance of differences in the chemistry of exopolymers in determining the strength of adhesion of cells to substrates.
Pub Type: Journals
biomolecules, NEXAFS' polymers