The influence of extracellular polymeric substances (EPSs) on bacterial cell electrokinetic properties and on cell adhesion onto glass beads in connection with bacterial cell electrokinetic properties was investigated using 12 heterotrophic bacterial strains. Bacterial cell surface properties such as the softness 1/λ and charge density ZN were determined by Ohshima's soft-particle analysis using the measured electrophoretic mobility as a function of ionic strength. In 10 of 12 strains, when EPSs covering the cell surface were removed, the softness of the cell decreased, indicating that EPS adsorption enhanced the ease of liquid fluid in the ion-penetrable layer on the cell surface. On the other hand, the negative charge density of the cell surface increased for 9 of 12 strains, suggesting that EPSs covering the cell surface decreased the negative charge density of the cell surface layer. In addition, the characteristics of bacterial cell adhesion onto glass beads were evaluated by the packed-bed method and the data were interpreted to indicate cell adhesiveness. As a result, the efficiency of cell adhesion onto glass beads increased as negative cell surface potential ψ0 decreased, whereas there seemed to be no correlation between zeta potential and cell adhesiveness. Cell surface potential ψ0, which was derived by taking the bacterial polymer layer with EPSs into consideration, provided a more detailed understanding of the electrokinetic properties of bacterial cells.
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