Document Type


Publication Date



A majority of antibiotic-resistant bacterial infections in the United States are associated with biofilms. Nanoscale biophysical measures are increasingly revealing that adhesive and viscoelastic properties of bacteria play essential roles across multiple stages of biofilm development. Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM) applied to strains with variation in antimicrobial resistance enables new opportunities for investigating the function of adhesive forces (stickiness) in biofilm formation. AFM force spectroscopy analysis of a field strain of Listeria innocua and the strain Escherichia coli K-12 MG1655 revealed differing adhesive forces between antimicrobial resistant and nonresistant strains. Significant increases in stickiness were found at the nanonewton level for strains of Listeria innocua and Escherichia coli in association with benzalkonium chloride and silver nanoparticle resistance respectively. This advancement in the usage of AFM provides for a fast and reliable avenue for analyzing antimicrobial resistant cells and the molecular dynamics of biofilm formation as a protective mechanism.