Research Articles

Adhesion and biofilm formation of Candida albicans on native and Pluronic-treated polystyrene

K. E. Wesenberg-Ward a1c1, B. J. Tyler a2 and J. T. Sears a1
a1 Department of Chemical Engineering, Montana State University–Bozeman, Bozeman, MT 59717, USA
a2 Department of Chemical and Fuels Engineering, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT 84112, USA

Article author query
wesenberg-ward k   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
tyler bj   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 
sears jt   [PubMed][Google Scholar] 


Candida albicans forms part of the normal human flora whose growth is usually restricted by the normal flora bacteria and the host's immune system. It is an opportunistic fungal pathogen that causes infections in immunocompromised individuals, mechanical trauma victims and iatrogenic patients. Candida albicans can ingress the human host by adhering to a plastic surface (i.e. prosthetic devices, catheters, artificial organs, etc.) that is subsequently implanted, and forms a protective biofilm that provides a continuous reservoir of yeast to be hematogenously dispersed. In order for the medical profession to battle device-related infections, initial adhesion and biofilm formation of C. albicans needs to be better understood. There has been some skepticism as to whether the initial adhesion events bear any relationship to subsequent biofilm formation. Thus, to better comprehend the relationship between the initial adhesion rates and growth rate and biofilm formation, these events were studied on two different, well-defined culture surfaces, native polystyrene and Pluronic F127-conditioned polystyrene. The adhesion studies determined that Pluronic F127 adsorption dramatically reduced the adhesion of C. albicans to polystyrene. The biofilm growth studies, analyzed by confocal scanning laser microscopy, revealed that Pluronic F127 decreased the biofilm surface coverage, cluster group size, thickness and the presence of hyphal elements over the untreated polystyrene. These findings indicate that the effect of a material's surface chemistry on the initial adhesion process has a direct influence on subsequent biofilm formation.

c1 Corresponding author: Dr K. E. Wesenberg-Ward, Department of Chemical Engineering, Montana State University–Bozeman, Bozeman, MT 59717, USA T 1 406 570 7201, F 1 406 994 5308, E