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Issue 18, 2010
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Polymer-induced phase separation in Escherichia coli suspensions

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Abstract

We studied aggregation and phase separation in suspensions of de-flagellated Escherichia coli (AB1157) in phosphate buffer induced by the anionic polyelectrolyte sodium polystyrene sulfonate. We also performed Monte Carlo simulations of this system based on the Asakura–Oosawa model of colloid–polymer mixtures. The results of these simulations, as well as comparison with previous work on synthetic colloid–polymer mixtures, demonstrate that the role of the polymer is to cause a depletion attraction between the E. coli cells. The implication of these results for understanding the role of (predominantly anionic) extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) secreted by bacteria in various natural phenomena such as biofilm formation is discussed.

Graphical abstract: Polymer-induced phase separation in Escherichia coli suspensions

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Article information


Submitted
07 Apr 2010
Accepted
25 Jun 2010
First published
05 Aug 2010

Soft Matter, 2010,6, 4540-4549
Article type
Paper

Polymer-induced phase separation in Escherichia coli suspensions

J. Schwarz-Linek, A. Winkler, L. G. Wilson, N. T. Pham, T. Schilling and W. C. K. Poon, Soft Matter, 2010, 6, 4540
DOI: 10.1039/C0SM00214C

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