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Keywords:

  • bacterial adhesion;
  • shear flow;
  • hydrodynamics;
  • model

Abstract

A three-dimensional model is developed to study the laminar shear flow past a bacterial cell attached to a plane surface. The induced hydrodynamic forces and torque exerted on the cell are computed to clarify the prevailing mechanisms involved in the detachment of model bacteria. Results are discussed in terms of drag and torque magnitude as a function of the angles defining the orientation of the cell. It is shown that reorientation and rolling of spheroid-shaped cells are favored. It is also confirmed that rod-shaped cells would tend to lie on the surface and become aligned with the flow. The model is used to quantify the adhesion force of spheroid Bacillus cereus spores to stainless steel, deduced from previously described experiments in a shear stress flow chamber. The magnitude of the predicted adhesion force is close to that obtained using atomic force microscopy under similar experimental conditions. © 2012 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2012