Title page for ETD etd-06222006-142946

Type of Document Master's Thesis
Author Uzarski, Joshua Robert
Author's Email Address juzarski@vt.edu
URN etd-06222006-142946
Title Investigations of Bacteria Viability on Surfaces Using ω-functionalized Alkanethiol Self-Assembled Monolayers
Degree Master of Science
Department Chemistry
Advisory Committee
Advisor Name Title
Morris, John R. Committee Chair
Anderson, Mark R. Committee Member
Gandour, Richard D. Committee Member
  • Escherichia coli
  • silver carboxylate SAM
  • antibacterial surface
  • self-assembled monolayers
Date of Defense 2006-06-19
Availability unrestricted
The structure/function relationship between bacteria and biocidal molecules in the vapor or solution phase is well-understood. However, the fundamental structure/function relationship between covalently-bound biocidal surface molecules and bacteria is not. While a number of antibacterial surfaces have been reported, detailed analysis of the molecular scale surface structure has not been performed. The lack of structural knowledge makes it difficult to determine how alterations to the surface affect the viability of the bacteria. Most of the antibacterial surfaces reported to date are composed of polymer systems. Controlling the properties of large surface-bound molecules like polymers is difficult.

Self-assembled monolayers, or SAMs, of alkanethiols on gold have been used extensively in the past 20 years as model surfaces for investigation of a large breadth of surface phenomena. SAMs allow for control of the molecular scale surface structure and are amenable to a great number of characterization techniques. The primary objective of the work in this study is to establish the use of SAMs as a tool to investigate the fundamental relationship between surface structure and bacteria viability.

The surfaces were characterized before interaction with bacteria by reflection-absorption infrared spectroscopy (RAIRS) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Determination of the viability of Escherichia coli on the surfaces was performed via the antibacterial assay. In the assay, a culture of E. coli was sprayed onto the surfaces using a chromatography sprayer. After addition of growth agar and overnight incubation, the number of colony forming units on the surface were counted. Statistical analyses were performed to compare the number of colony forming units on different surfaces. Surfaces were characterized after the assay by RAIRS. The RAIR spectra indicated that no significant change to the well-ordered alkane chain configuration was evident. The structural stability shown by the SAMs will allow for their use in future studies to determine fundamental relationship between surface structure and bacteria viability.

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