Role of silver/zinc oxide in affecting de-adhesion strength of Staphylococcus aureus on polymer biocomposites

Fahad Alam, Kantesh Balani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


A single-cell force spectroscopy is utilized to characterize the dynamics of the transient interaction (0–10 s) between alive Staphylococcus aureus and ultra-high molecular weight polyethylene (UHMWPE). Adhesion force of bacteria upon addition of antibacterial additives (i.e. silver (Ag) nanoparticles and zinc oxide (ZnO) micro-rods) has been evaluated. Addition of Ag and ZnO reduces the colony forming units (CFUs) from 93 ± 7 (UHMWPE) to 23 ± 5 (U + 3 wt.% Ag + 3 wt.% ZnO) on 10 × 10 mm2 area of sample surface. Presence of ZnO causes increase in the surface free energy from 29.1 (UHMWPE) to 32.3 mJ/m2 (UHMWPE + 1 wt.% ZnO) and 32.3 mJ/m2 for U + 3 wt.% ZnO whereas due to Ag the surface free energy decreased to 28.3 mJ/m2 and 28.4 mJ/m2 for UHMWPE + 1 wt.% Ag and U + 3 wt.% Ag respectively. At a contact time of 10 s bacterial adhesion on U + 1 wt.% Ag + 1 wt.% ZnO, U + 3 wt.% Ag and U + 3 wt.% Ag + 3 wt.% ZnO showed lowest adhesion forces, ~ 2.6 nN, ~ 2.9 nN and ~ 3.2 N respectively as compared to neat UHMWPE (~ 4 nN) due to a lower surface free energies, but U + 1 wt.% Ag and U + 1 wt.% ZnO and U + 3 wt.% ZnO show higher adhesion force due their higher surface free energy. Ag nanoparticles reduce the live bacteria count whereas ZnO reduces the bacterial retention and combination of both acts synergistically so the count of live bacteria as well as total bacterial density reduced in U-Ag-ZnO composite samples.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1106-1114
Number of pages9
JournalMaterials Science and Engineering C
StatePublished - Jun 1 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2023-09-23

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Mechanics of Materials
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Condensed Matter Physics


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