Hierarchical Rose Petal Surfaces Delay the Early-Stage Bacterial Biofilm Growth

Yunyi Cao, Saikat Jana, Leon Bowen, Xiaolong Tan, Hongzhong Liu, Nadia Rostami, James Brown, Nicholas S. Jakubovics, Jinju Chen

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28 Citations (Scopus)
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A variety of natural surfaces exhibit antibacterial properties; as a result, significant efforts in the past decade have been dedicated toward fabrication of biomimetic surfaces that can help control biofilm growth. Examples of such surfaces include rose petals, which possess hierarchical structures like the micropapillae measuring tens of microns and nanofolds that range in the size of 700 ± 100 nm. We duplicated the natural structures on rose petal surfaces via a simple UV-curable nanocasting technique and tested the efficacy of these artificial surfaces in preventing biofilm growth using clinically relevant bacteria strains. The rose petal-structured surfaces exhibited hydrophobicity (contact angle (CA) ≈ 130.8° ± 4.3°) and high CA hysteresis (∼91.0° ± 4.9°). Water droplets on rose petal replicas evaporated following the constant contact line mode, indicating the likely coexistence of both Cassie and Wenzel states (Cassie−Baxter impregnating the wetting state). Fluorescence microscopy and image analysis revealed the significantly lower attachment of Staphylococcus epidermidis (86.1 ± 6.2% less) and Pseudomonas aeruginosa (85.9 ± 3.2% less) on the rose petal-structured surfaces, compared with flat surfaces over a period of 2 h. An extensive biofilm matrix was observed in biofilms formed by both species on flat
surfaces after prolonged growth (several days), but was less apparent on rose petal-biomimetic surfaces. In addition, the biomass of S. epidermidis (63.2 ± 9.4% less) and P. aeruginosa (76.0 ± 10.0% less) biofilms were significantly reduced on the rose petal-structured surfaces, in comparison to the flat surfaces. By comparing P. aeruginosa growth on representative unitary nanopillars,
we demonstrated that hierarchical structures are more effective in delaying biofilm growth. The mechanisms are two-fold: (1) the nanofolds across the hemispherical micropapillae restrict initial attachment of bacterial cells and delay the direct contact of cells via cell alignment and (2) the hemispherical micropapillae arrays isolate bacterial clusters and inhibit the formation of a
fibrous network. The hierarchical features on rose petal surfaces may be useful for developing strategies to control biofilm formation in medical and industrial contexts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14670-14680
Number of pages11
Issue number45
Early online date21 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 12 Nov 2019

Bibliographical note

Y.C. acknowledges the Ph.D. studentship (Research Excellence Academy funding scheme) from Newcastle University. J.C. acknowledges funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/K039083/1) and EPSRC Partnering for GCRF(EP/R512692/1). S.J. acknowledges funding from Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/K039083/1).


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