Proteins dominate in the surface layers formed on materials exposed to extracellular polymeric substances from bacterial cultures

The chemical compositions of the surface conditioning layers formed by different types of solutions (from isolated EPS to whole culture media), involving different bacterial strains relevant for biocorrosion were compared, as they may influence the initial step in biofilm formation. Different substrata (polystyrene, glass, steel) were conditioned and analyzed by X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. Peak decomposition and assignment were validated by correlations between independent spectral data and the ubiquitous presence of organic contaminants on inorganic substrata was taken into account. Proteins or peptides were found to be a major constituent of all conditioning layers and polysaccharides were not present in appreciable concentrations; the proportion of nitrogen which may be due to DNA was lower than 15%. There was no significant difference between the compositions of the adlayers formed from different conditioning solutions, except for the adlayers produced with tightly bound EPS extracted from D. alaskensis.