Evaluation of the relative cell surface charge by using microbial adhesion to hydrocarbon
In aqueous two-phase system, the partition of bacteria and lipopolysaccharide from a rough (R) strain (Rd-mutant) of Salmonella typhimurium is influenced by polymers with covalently linked hydrophobic groups indicating hydrophobic structures accessible at the cell surface. Furthermore, the partition of the R bacteria is influenced by a number of inorganic positive and negative ions, presumably as a consequence of interaction with negatively charged surface structures. In contrast, smooth (S) bacteria and lipopolysaccharide from the parent strain do not seem to participate in either hydrophobic or charge interaction indicating extensive hydrophilicity without charge. Thus, the S-specific polysaccharide side chain of S. typhimurium might serve the purpose of blindfolding aspecific host defence mechanisms dependent on hydrophobicity and charge. On the contrary, the R bacteria and R lipopolysaccharide have physico-chemical properties which predispose to interaction with several types of cells, organelles and molecules.