Date of Award

Spring 1996

Document Type



Life & Environmental Sciences

First Advisor

Fr. Joseph Harrington

Second Advisor

John Christenson

Third Advisor

Gloria Lambertz


Many microorganisms will selectively adhere to mineral surfaces if the charge and hydrophobic interactions between mineral and organism allow. In this study, Mycobacterium phlei, known to have high surface charge and hydrophobicity, was used to test the hypothesis that the attachment of M.phlei to hydrophobic minerals is due to hydrophobic interactions. Flocculation tests showed that the microorganism did in fact adhere to the hydrophobic minerals and the hydrophobicity of the individual minerals increased with the addition of M. phlei to the system. If coulombic charges were involved, these interactions would not allow the adhesion of two negatively charged particles. Therefore, the results suggest that one explanation could be that hydrophobic interactions are playing a key role in adhesion.

Included in

Microbiology Commons