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Polymer microarrays provide an innovative approach to identify materials with novel bacterial binding or repellent properties which could subsequently be used in a variety of practical applications. Here, we report a polymer microarray screen of hundreds of synthetic polymers to identify those which either selectively capture the major food-borne pathogen, Salmonella enterica serovar Typhimurium (S. Typhimurium), or prevent its binding. A parallel study with a lab strain of Escherichia coli (E. coli) is also reported; revealing polymers which either display a common binding activity or which exhibit species discrimination. Moreover, substrates were also uncovered which showed no binding of either organism, even when cultured at high density. The correlation between polymer structure and microbial-modulating behaviour was analysed further, while SEM analysis allowed visualization of the detailed interactions between surface and bacteria. Such polymers offer many new opportunities for bacterial enrichment or surface repulsion, in cleaning materials, as surface coatings for use in the food production industry or as a "bacterial scavenger" resin.
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