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Analysis of Giardia lamblia Interactions with Polymer Surfaces Using a Microarray Approach

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journal contribution
posted on 21.02.2012, 00:00 by Harry Pickering, Mei Wu, Mark Bradley, Helen Bridle
The interaction of the waterborne protozoan parasite, Giardia lamblia, with polymeric materials was investigated by microarray screening of 652 polymers. Polymers were identified which either bound G. lamblia cysts or prevented their binding. Correlation of material properties such as wettability and surface roughness with cyst attachment revealed no influence of these factors upon Giardia adhesion. However, the study of polymer composition allowed the correlation of binding and generation of polymer structure function relationships; glycol and aromatic functionalities appeared to prevent adhesion, whereas secondary amine groups promoted adhesion, in agreement with previous literature. A significant reduction in attachment was observed following both cyst treatments with proteinase K and performing experiments at extremes of pH (2 and 12). It is suggested that proteinase K removes the proteins needed for specific surface interactions, whereas extremes of pH influence either protonation of the polymer or the surface charge of the cysts. The mechanism by which the protozoa attach to polymeric surfaces is proposed to be through ion–pair interactions. Improved understanding of G. lamblia surface interactions could assist in predicting transport and fate behavior in the environment and contribute to better design of water treatment processes, while the polymers identified in this work could find use in sensor applications and membrane filtration.