The influence of microbial factors on the susceptibility of bacteria to photocatalytic destruction

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The role that bacterial factors play in determining how bacteria respond to photocatalytic degradation is becoming increasingly recognised. Fimbriae which are thin, proteinaceous cell surface structures produced by many enterobacteria are generally considered to be important bacterial virulence determinants in the host. Recent studies, however, suggest that their expression may be increased during times of environmental stress to protect them against factors such as nutrient depletion and oxidation. In this study bacteria were grown under defined culture conditions to promote the expression of type 1 fimbriae and subjected to photocatalytic treatment. Results showed that Escherichia coli grown under conditions to express type 1 fimbriae were more resistant to photocatalytic destruction than control cultures, taking 75 min longer to be destroyed. Curli fimbriae are also known to play a role in environmental protection of bacteria and they are associated with biofilm production. The ability of the E. coli strain to produce curli fimbriae was confirmed and biofilms were grown and subjected to photocatalytic treatment. Biofilm destruction by photocatalysis was assessed using a resazurin viability assay and a loss of cell viability was demonstrated within 30 min treatment time. This study suggests that intrinsic bacterial factors may play a role in determining an organism’s response to photocatalytic treatment and highlights their importance in this disinfection process.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)53-58
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Photochemistry and Photobiology A: Chemistry
Early online date27 May 2015
Publication statusPublished - 01 Oct 2015


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