Potential Uses of Probiotics in Clinical Practice
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Coating uroepithelial cells or catheter materials with lactobacilli has been shown to retard the development of a uropathogenic biofilm, with biosurfactant production and strong adhesion being two prerequisite properties of the Lactobacillus strains to be employed. In this paper, adhesion of six selected Lactobacillus strains to silicone rubber and glass in urine and in a phosphate buffer was studied using a parallel plate flow chamber. In addition, adhesive cell surface properties of the lactobacilli, i.e. the pH dependences of their zeta potentials and their hydrophobicities by water contact angles, were determined. L. acidophilus ATCC 4356 and L. fermentum B54 were the only strains showing significant adhesion to both hydrophobic silicone rubber and hydrophilic glass, possibly by virtue of their high cell surface hydrophobicities (water contact angles of 68 and 75°, respectively) and small zeta potentials (-10.0 and -8.1 mV in buffer, respectively). Both hydrophobic Lactobacillus strains adhered less well in urine than in buffer. The remaining Lactobacillus strains studied were hydrophilic, with water contact angles between 25 and 36°, and had highly negative zeta potentials, reaching -37.7 mV in buffer. Adhesion of these highly negatively charged, hydrophilic strains in buffer was essentially absent, while for some of these strains minor adhesion in urine was observed. This study demonstrates that the adhesion of lactobacilli to substrata differs with strain hydrophobicity and charge, and that urinary components can affect the ability of hydrophilic Lactobacillus strains to adhere to substrata.