The phenomenon of bacterial adhesion is an important phenomenon for those working within the pharmaceutical and healthcare sectors to consider. This is because many processes are centred on the removal of bacteria, be that from pipework in water systems or from surfaces within cleanrooms via cleaning and disinfection regimes.
The adhesion of bacteria to surfaces relates to such factors as surface charge, surface energy, and the characteristics of polymers on bacteria (leading to the formation of biofilms). The way in which bacterial cells adhere to surfaces, or within communities, is of great importance to pharmaceutical microbiologists. For example, surface binding is a concern for cleaning and disinfection, the way in which bacteria may form a biofilm community within the pipework of a water system, or in relation to binding to a product formulation. Outside of the pharmaceutical environment, the binding of microbial cells to human host cells is important to areas including dentistry and medical implants, grafts, and IV lines, drains, stents, and catheters.
This paper provides an introduction to the mechanisms of bacterial adhesion, and briefly considers why this is important for cleaning and disinfection and for water systems. The paper is intended to be an educational piece through a review of subject literature.