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Appl Environ Microbiol. 1996 January; 62(1): 100–104.
PMCID: PMC167778

Pseudomonas fluorescens adhesion and transport through porous media are affected by lipopolysaccharide composition.


The objectives of this work were (i) to use transposon mutagenesis to produce mutants of Pseudomonas fluorescens that were altered in adhesion ability and transport through porous media and (ii) to identify the alterations in surface characteristics that were responsible for the changes in attachment. Mutants of P. fluorescens were generated with TnphoA, which enabled identification of mutants that were altered in surface proteins. Transposon mutants were screened for alterations in adhesion ability by attachment assays on hydrophobic polystyrene and water-wettable polystyrene. Four TnphoA mutants with increased adhesion to the hydrophobic surface and decreased adhesion to the water-wettable surface were obtained. Transport of the strains through porous media was evaluated by passing suspensions of each mutant and the parent through columns containing quartz sand and determining the number of cells retained in the columns. The mutants all demonstrated increased adhesion and retention in the columns. Southern analysis demonstrated two types of mutants with separate transposon insertion sites. Polyacrylamide gel electrophoresis of the strains demonstrated that the O antigen on the lipopolysaccharide was either attenuated or absent. Lack of this polysaccharide, and the consequent increased exposure of the lipid moiety of the lipopolysaccharide, is probably responsible for the increase in adhesion to the hydrophobic substrata and retention in the sand column. This work combined with previous studies of attachment of P. fluorescens demonstrates that more than one type of polymer can mediate the adhesion of this organism to nonbiological surfaces.

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