Author(s): Epstein AK, Hochbaum AI, Kim P, Aizenberg J
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Abstract Surface-associated communities of bacteria, called biofilms, pervade natural and anthropogenic environments. Mature biofilms are resistant to a wide range of antimicrobial treatments and therefore pose persistent pathogenic threats. The use of surface chemistry to inhibit biofilm growth has been found to only transiently affect initial attachment. In this work, we investigate the tunable effects of physical surface properties, including high-aspect-ratio (HAR) surface nanostructure arrays recently reported to induce long-range spontaneous spatial patterning of bacteria on the surface. The functional parameters and length scale regimes that control such artificial patterning for the rod-shaped pathogenic species Pseudomonas aeruginosa are elucidated through a combinatorial approach. We further report a crossover regime of biofilm growth on a HAR nanostructured surface versus the nanostructure effective stiffness. When the 'softness' of the hair-like nanoarray is increased beyond a threshold value, biofilm growth is inhibited as compared to a flat control surface. This result is consistent with the mechanoselective adhesion of bacteria to surfaces. Therefore by combining nanoarray-induced bacterial patterning and modulating the effective stiffness of the nanoarray--thus mimicking an extremely compliant flat surface--bacterial mechanoselective adhesion can be exploited to control and inhibit biofilm growth.
This article was published in Nanotechnology
and referenced in Journal of Microbial & Biochemical Technology