• infection;
  • biomaterials;
  • biofilm;
  • S. epidermidis;
  • adhesion


The formation of biofilm, a structured community of bacteria enclosed in slime, is a significant virulence factor in medical-device-centered infection. The development of cardiovascular device infection can be separated into two phases: initial bacterial adhesion and aggregation, followed by proliferation and production of slime. It is possible to modulate the adhesion and biofilm formation of Staphylococcus epidermidis, a commensal skin bacterium commonly found on infected medical devices, through biomaterial surface chemistry. This study examines bacterial adhesion and biofilm formation on surface-modified polyethylene terephthalate (PET), including surfaces with varying hydrophilic, hydrophobic, and ionic character. Bacterial adhesion and biofilm formation were observed over 48 hours in phosphate-buffered saline (PBS) and 20% pooled human serum. The hydrophilic surface (PAAm) had significantly less nonspecific adhesion of bacteria than that in the control (PET) and other surfaces, when cultured in PBS (P < 0.0001). Charged surfaces, both anionic and cationic, had increased adhesion and aggregation of bacteria in comparison with the control (PET) in the presence of serum proteins over 24 hours (P < 0.0001). Bacteria cultured in serum on the charged surfaces did not have significantly different amounts of biofilm formation compared with that of the control (PET) surface after 48 hours. This study showed that biomaterial surface chemistry characteristics impact initial adhesion and aggregation of S. epidermidis on biomaterials. © 2006 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. J Biomed Mater Res, 2006