The inhibitory effect of non-ionic, anionic, cationic and ampholytic surfactants on cellular growth of MT8148 and 6715, on glucan synthesis by the purified glucosyltransferase (GTase) from these organisms, and on bacterial adherence to glass surfaces was examined . Cationic surfactants exhibited marked bactericidal activities. Anionic and ampholytic compounds were less strongly bactericidal and non-ionic surfactants produced only slight inhibition of cell growth under the conditions tested. Some non-ionic compounds had no effect on this. Glucan synthesis by GTase from mutans streptococci was inhibited by anionic and cationic surfactants. Among various GTase proteins, insoluble glucan synthesising GTases, i.e., CA-GTase and GTase-I were those most effectively inhibited by these agents. However, it was noted that whereas lower concentrations of cationic surfactants enhanced these GTase activities, higher concentrations of the surfactants were inhibitory. Non-ionic detergents stimulated soluble glucan synthesis from CF-GTase and cationic and ampholytic surfactants enhanced or inhibited glucan synthesis depending on the concentrations of the surfactants. Sucrose-dependent cellular adherence of resting cells of mutans streptococci to glass surfaces was inhibited by the addition of surfactants that annulled the GTase activities.


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