Bacteriophages, or phages, are receiving increasing interest as recognition tools for the design of bioactive surfaces. However, to maintain the activity of surface-bound phages, the immobilization strategy must provide the right orientation and not compromise the phages’ integrity. The objectives of this study were to characterize the phage sorption capacity and the immobilized phage activity for aminated silica particles functionalized with T4 phages. Two functionalization strategies were compared; physisorption, based on electrostatic adhesion, and chemisorption, where the phage and the particle are coupled using a carbodiimide cross-linker. We report that chemisorption, at maximum adsorption conditions on 1 µm particles, yielded 16 functional phages per particle, which is 2.5 times more than by the physisorption method. Particle diameter is shown to have an important impact on phage attachment and 1.8 µm particles were found to have ∼4 times more phages per surface area than 0.5 µm particles. Higher surface coverage is attributed to the lower steric hindrance on bigger particles. These findings provide important guidelines for the design of phage-functionalized particles for environmental, biomedical, or sensing applications.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)68-76
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Colloid And Interface Science
StatePublished - Dec 15 2018


  • Chemisorption
  • Phage
  • Physisorption
  • Silica particles
  • T4

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Electronic, Optical and Magnetic Materials
  • Biomaterials
  • Surfaces, Coatings and Films
  • Colloid and Surface Chemistry


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