Five well characterised strains of of differing virulence and two strains, a verotoxigenic O157:H7 isolate and a urinary isolate, were examined for cell surface hydrophobicity and charge, and haemagglutinating ability. Phase partition in hexadecane or octan-1-ol was similar for and , as was retention by hydrophobic interaction chromatography (HIC), indicating moderate hydrophobicity. The salt agglutination test showed to be hydrophobic and to be hydrophilic. Relative hydrophobicity determined by HIC when charge effects were not nullified, i.e., to reflect more closely conditions , showed to bind less well. Growth of in caecal emulsions to simulate conditions did not alter the cell surface hydrophobicity. The phase partition method for charge determination indicated that and had a net negative charge, although this was weaker for than However, although exhibited a net negative charge as determined by immuno-gold electronmicroscopy (IGEM), in keeping with the results of the phase partition method, was shown to be predominantly positively charged by IGEM, and by movement in a charged field as determined by paper electrophoresis and a novel method based on light microscope observation. A cell-wall deficient mutant of was weakly positively charged, showing that most of the charge resides in the cell wall.


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