Titanium-based implants are ubiquitous in the healthcare industries and often suffer from bacterial attachment which results in infections. An innovative method of reducing bacterial growth is to employ nanostructures on implant materials that cause contact-dependent cell death by mechanical rupture of bacterial cell membranes. To achieve this, we synthesized nanostructures with different architectures on titanium surfaces using hydrothermal treatment processes and then examined the growth of Staphylococcus epidermidis on these surfaces. The structure obtained after a two-hour hydrothermal treatment (referred to as spear-type) showed the least bacterial attachment at short times but over a period of 6 days tended to support the formation of thick biofilms. By contrast, the structure obtained after a three-hour hydrothermal treatment (referred to as pocket-type) was found to delay biofilm formation up to 6 days and killed 47% of the initially attached bacteria by penetrating or compressing the bacteria in between the network of intertwined nano-spears. The results point to the efficacy of pocket-type nanostructure in increasing the killing rate of individual bacteria and potentially delaying longer-term biofilm formation.
Bibliographical noteY. Cao acknowledges the PhD studentship (Research Excellence Academy funding scheme) from Newcastle University. J. Chen acknowledges funding from the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/K039083/1) and EPSRC Partnering for GCRF(EP/R512692/1). B. Su would like to thank the funding from the
Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (EP/K035142/1) and Medical Research Council (MR/N010345/1). S. Chinnaraj, S. Charlton and P. Duan acknowledge the PhD studentships from Newcastle University