Effects of nonionic surfactants on the UV/visible absorption of bacterial cells

Derick G. Brown, Peter R. Jaffe

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Nonionic surfactants are used in a number of different microbiological applications, including solubilization of cell membranes, washing bacterial cultures prior to experimentation, and enhancing biodegradation of low-solubility compounds. An important consideration in these applications is the potential for the surfactant to alter the cell membrane. One potential means to monitor the impact of surfactants on the bacterial cell membrane is through monitoring the absorbance spectrum of the bacterial suspension. This is due to the colloidal nature of bacteria, where the absorbance of a bacterial suspension is related to the size and refractive index of the bacterial cells. Through a systematic study it was shown that there can be a significant change in the bacterial absorbance spectrum due to the presence of nonionic surfactants, with the effect a function of surfactant structure and concentration, solution ionic strength and cation valence. The effects were most pronounced with Na+ as the cation, with surfactants having midrange hydrophile-lipophile balance (hlb) values, and with surfactant concentrations above the Cmc. The results indicate that measurement of the absorbance spectrum of bacterial cultures can provide a means to monitor the effects of nonionic surfactants on the bacterial cell membrane. In addition, depending on the specific application, appropriate selection of surfactant structure and media composition can be made to enhance or minimize the effects.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)476-482
Number of pages7
JournalBiotechnology and Bioengineering
Volume74
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Sep 20 2001

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Nonionic surfactants
Surface-Active Agents
Surface active agents
Cell membranes
Cell Membrane
Cations
Suspensions
Positive ions
Biodegradation
Ionic strength
Cell culture
Washing
Refractive index
Bacteria
Refractometry
Solubility
Osmolar Concentration
Monitoring
Chemical analysis

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Applied Microbiology and Biotechnology
  • Bioengineering
  • Biotechnology

Cite this

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Effects of nonionic surfactants on the UV/visible absorption of bacterial cells. / Brown, Derick G.; Jaffe, Peter R.

In: Biotechnology and Bioengineering, Vol. 74, No. 6, 20.09.2001, p. 476-482.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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