Multiple imaging techniques demonstrate the manipulation of surfaces to reduce bacterial contamination and corrosion

J. W. Arnold, D. H. Boothe, O. Suzuki, G. W. Bailey

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30 Citations (Scopus)


Surface imaging techniques were combined to determine appropriate manipulation of technologically important surfaces for commercial applications. The complementarity of the microscopy methods, scanning electron microscopy, electron probe microanalysis and atomic force microscopy assessed and correlated form and function of the surface modifications. Stainless steel disks (1 cm in diameter) were laser-cut from the same sheets of stainless steel and treated by electropolishing or left untreated for controls. Each treatment was analysed separately using each technique. First, the disks were examined by visual inspection and electron probe microanalysis for surface characteristics and elemental composition, respectively. Aliquots of bacterial suspensions (saline rinses of poultry carcasses from a commercial broiler processing plant) were then diluted in broth and monitored for growth by spectrophotometry. Stainless steel disks (1 cm in diameter) were added and the cultures were grown to sufficient density to allow attachment of bacterial cells to test surfaces. Relative differences in the surface morphology shown by atomic force microscopy, including Z ranges, roughness and other measurements, corresponded by treatment with the differences in reduction of bacterial counts shown by scanning electron microscopy. A model of wet-processing conditions tested the effects of corrosive treatment of surfaces. Less bacterial attachment occurred after corrosive treatment on controls and electropolished samples. Electropolishing significantly reduced bacterial numbers and the effects of corrosive action compared to the controls. Thus, the multiple imaging techniques showed that engineered changes on stainless steel surfaces improved the resistance of the surface finish to bacterial attachment, biofilm formation, and corrosive action.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)215-221
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Microscopy
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Dec


  • AFM
  • Bacteria
  • Biofilm
  • Corrosion
  • EPMA
  • SEM
  • Stainless steel


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