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"Surface energy" of biomaterials--meaning?

Dr. John D. Brooks J.Brooks at massey.ac.nz
Fri Sep 4 01:58:39 EST 1998

At 08:51 PM 9/1/98 -0400, Miles Ehrlich wrote:
>Can someone explain to me the concept of "surface energy" (measured in
>dynes/cm) on the surface of biomaterials? Also called surface "tension,"
>I gather. I don't understand the idea of surface tension in a solid.
>Apparently it's an important determinant, though, in whether bacteria
>will adhere to a surface and begin to form a biofilm. Smith & Nephew Co.
>is very hot on this subject in relation to their tympanostomy tubes (ear
>ventilation tubes for children with ear infection) and contracts out to
>Spire Co. in Bedford MA for ionization treatment of biomaterials
>surfaces to get the desired anti-adhesion properties. (The treated
>silicone is called Ultrasil, also apparently used for urinary catheters

We too would be very interested to read answers.  We are working on the
adhesion of thermophilic bacteria to stainless stell in dairy plant.  Our
work to date has shown that adhesion is probably a function of several
factors including (but not limited to) hydrophobicity of the surface of
both substrate and bacterial cells, surface chemistry of the substrate and
presence of foulant.  The proteins on the surface of thermotolerant
streptococci are also closely involved in adhesion to stainless steel.
Perhaps "surface energy" concepts may help us to unravel some of these

If anyone replies to Miles, please reply to the group too.  Thanks!

                             ==========              * Dr. John Brooks
                                 !!                  * Dept. Food Tech.
                                .//                  * Massey University
                              .//.                   * Palmerston North
                            .///                     * New Zealand
                          .///.                      * Ph. 06-350-4395
 =================================================== * Fax 06-350-5655
                   /.           << I fly, therefore I am >>

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