Microbial adhesion to hydrocarbons: Twenty-five years of doing MATH

Mel Rosenberg*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

185 Scopus citations


Twenty-five years ago this past autumn, we published a short article entitled 'Adherence of bacteria to hydrocarbons: a simple method for measuring cell-surface hydrophobicity' in Volume 9 of FEMS Microbiology Letters. Together with my Ph.D. supervisors, Eugene Rosenberg and David Gutnick, we proposed a method of measuring bacterial cell surface hydrophobicity based on bacterial adherence to hydrocarbon ('BATH', later known as 'MATH', for microbial adhesion to hydrocarbon). The method became popular soon after it was published, and the paper was, for at least the following decade, the Journal's most cited article. It became an ISI 'citation classic' in 1991. This minireview is a rather personal look at the development of the method and its various modifications and other scientific offspring, with the perspective of a quarter-century.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)129-134
Number of pages6
JournalFEMS Microbiology Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 2006


  • Adhesion
  • Hexadecane
  • Hydrocarbon
  • Hydrophobicity
  • MATH
  • Microbial


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