Binding of Metal Ions by Extracellular Polymers of Biofilm Bacteria


Exopolymers which anchor sessile bacteria to metallic surfaces exhibit the capacity to bind copper ions with high affinity. Ionized carboxyl groups on the polymers appear to participate in cupric ion binding. Formation of complexes between the polymers and cupric ions results in the release of protons from the polymer molecule. Attenuated total reflectance Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy showed that polymers composed of acidic polysaccharides promote ionization and deterioration of metallic copper surfaces. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy studies revealed that the ionic state of the surface-derived copper varied depending on the type of acidic polysaccharide that was in contact with the surface. The results suggest that exopolymers elaborated by adherent bacteria can enhance corrosion of the surfaces with which they are associated.




Geesey, G.G., L.K. Jang, J.G. Jolley, M.R. Hankins, T. Iwaoka, and P.R. Griffiths, "Binding of Metal Ions by Extracellular Polymers of Biofilm Bacteria," Water Science and Technology, 20(11/12):161-165 (1988).
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