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    Effects of Cationic and Anionic Surfaces on the Perpendicular and Lateral Forces and Binding of Aspergillus niger Conidia

    Whitehead, Kathryn A., Lynch, Stephen ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4183-5122, Amin, Mohsin, Deisenroth, Ted, Liauw, Christopher M and Verran, Joanna ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5539-6896 (2023) Effects of Cationic and Anionic Surfaces on the Perpendicular and Lateral Forces and Binding of Aspergillus niger Conidia. Nanomaterials, 13 (22). 2932. ISSN 2079-4991

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    Abstract

    The binding of conidia to surfaces is a prerequisite for biofouling by fungal species. In this study, Aspergillus niger subtypes 1957 and 1988 were used which produced differently shaped conidia (round or spikey respectively). Test surfaces were characterised for their surface topography, wettability, and hardness. Conidial assays included perpendicular and lateral force measurements, as well as attachment, adhesion and retention assays. Anionic surfaces were less rough (Ra 2.4 nm), less wettable (54°) and harder (0.72 GPa) than cationic surfaces (Ra 5.4 nm, 36° and 0.5 GPa, respectively). Perpendicular and lateral force assays demonstrated that both types of conidia adhered with more force to the anionic surfaces and were influenced by surface wettability. Following the binding assays, fewer A. niger 1957 and A. niger 1988 conidia bound to the anionic surface. However, surface wettability affected the density and dispersion of the conidia on the coatings, whilst clustering was affected by their spore shapes. This work demonstrated that anionic surfaces were more repulsive to A. niger 1998 spores than cationic surfaces were, but once attached, the conidia bound more firmly to the anionic surfaces. This work informs on the importance of understanding how conidia become tightly bound to surfaces, which can be used to prevent biofouling.

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