Shear stress tolerance of Streptococcus mutans aggregates determined by microfluidic funnel device (μFFD)

Wahhida Shumi, So Hyun Kim, Jeesun Lim, Kyung Suk Cho, Hwataik Han, Sungsu Park

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14 Scopus citations


Dental caries are initiated by the attachment of Streptococcus mutans aggregates to the surface of teeth. Bacterial adhesion to the interproximal space, the space between adjacent teeth, has not been investigated due to the lack of devices that mimic the space. Herein, we describe a method for determining the effect of shear stress and sucrose on the attachment of S. mutans aggregates to the interproximal space using microfluidic funnel device (μFFD). Using μFFD, the shear stress tolerance of sucrose-independent and sucrose-dependent S. mutans aggregates (larger than 50 μm in diameter) trapped in the funnel was tested against various flow rates of saliva solution (5 to 50 μl/min). Sucrose-independent aggregates were completely removed from the funnel walls at a low flow rate (10 μl/min) within 7. min., while sucrose-dependent aggregates were removed from the walls only at higher flow rates (25 and 50 μl/min) within several minutes. These results suggest that sucrose-dependent aggregates are more tolerant of shear stress than sucrose-independent aggregates, and are more likely to remain in the region with the smallest shear stress in the teeth.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)85-89
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Microbiological Methods
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 2013

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was equally supported by both Public Welfare & Safety Research Program (# 2012-0006522 , 2012M3A2A1051681 ) through the National Research Foundation (NRF) of Korea and Cooperative Research Program (# PJ009419 ) for Agricultural Science & Technology Development through Rural Development Administration of Korea. W. Shumi was supported by EGPP (Ewha Global Partnership Program) from Ewha Womans University .


  • Adhesion
  • Biofilm
  • Interproximal space
  • Microfluidic device
  • Streptococcus mutans


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