The reactions involved in the binding (adsorption) and release (desorption) of a flatoxin B1 (AFB1) to and from the surface of bacteria were investigated. Viable and heat-killed Lactobacillus rhamnosus GG, L. rhamnosus LC-705, and Propionibacterium freudenreichii subsp. shermanii JS were incubated in phosphate-buffered saline containing variable concentrations (0.0017 to 13.3 μg/ml) of AFB1. The relationship between the bacterial surface hydrophobicity and the AFB1 adsorption affinity was also investigated. A linear relationship was observed between the specific rate of AFB1 adsorption and the AFB1 concentration for all bacteria. The nature of desorption of adsorbed AFB1 was investigated by repetitive aqueous washes. A linear relationship was observed between the natural log value of the concentration of AFB1 adsorbed and the number of washes for all bacteria studied. The desorption constants were strain-dependent and were lower for heat-killed bacteria than for viable bacteria. Heat treatment appears to alter the surface properties of the bacteria rather than expose new adsorption sites. No correlation was found between the hydrophobicity and the AFB1 adsorption affinity.

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