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Effect of surface roughness of biomaterials on Staphylococcus epidermidis adhesion

Itaru Yoda1, Hironobu Koseki1*, Masato Tomita1, Takayuki Shida1, Hidehiko Horiuchi1, Hideyuki Sakoda2 and Makoto Osaki1

Author Affiliations

1 Department of Orthopedic Surgery, Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences, Nagasaki University, 1-7-1, Sakamoto, Nagasaki 852-8501, Japan

2 Division of Medical Devices, National Institute of Health Sciences, 1-18-1, Kamiyoga, Setagaya-ku, Tokyo 158-8501, Japan

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BMC Microbiology 2014, 14:234  doi:10.1186/s12866-014-0234-2

Published: 2 September 2014



Implant-related infections are caused by adhesion of bacteria to the surface of biomaterials. In this in vitro research, we evaluated the ability of Staphylococcus epidermidis (ATCC35984) to adhere to the surface of solid biomaterials at different levels of roughness below 30 nm Ra and investigated the minimum level of roughness required to promote bacterial adhesion on five kinds of biomaterials: oxidized zirconium-niobium alloy (Oxinium), cobalt-chromium-molybdenum alloy (Co-Cr-Mo), titanium alloy (Ti-6Al-4 V), commercially pure titanium (Cp-Ti) and stainless steel (SUS316L), samples of which were categorized into a fine group and a coarse group according to surface roughness. The test specimens were physically analyzed and the viable bacterial density of the adhered bacteria was quantitatively determined (n?=?20).


The amount of bacteria that adhered to the biomaterials in the coarse group was higher than those in the fine group. Oxinium, Ti-6Al-4 V and SUS316L in particular demonstrated statistically significant differences between the two groups (P?<?0.05). Of the materials, the Co-Cr-Mo specimens exhibited significantly lower amounts of adhered bacteria than the Ti-6Al-4 V, Cp-Ti and SUS316L specimens in the fine group. Similarly, the Co-Cr-Mo specimens in the coarse group exhibited significantly lower values than the other four materials.


These results suggest that minimum level of roughness affecting initial bacterial adherence activity differs according to the type of biomaterial used, and that even a surface roughness of below 30 nm Ra in Oxinium, Ti-6Al-4 V and SUS316L can promote bacterial adhesion. Relative hydrophobic Co-Cr-Mo surfaces were less susceptible to bacterial adherence.

Bacterial adhesion; Biomaterials; Roughness; Staphylococcus epidermidis