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Celebrating the centenary in polymer science: drawing inspiration from nature to develop anti-fouling coatings. The development of biomimetic polymer surfaces and their effect on bacterial fouling.

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Jake McClementsORCiD, Professor Marloes PeetersORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC-ND).


Invited paperJake McClements, Luciana C. Gomes, Joshua Spall, Fabien Saubade,Devine Akhidime, Marloes Peeters, Filipe J. Mergulhão and Kathryn A. Whitehead*Celebrating the centenary in polymerscience: drawing inspiration from nature todevelop anti-fouling coatings. Thedevelopment of biomimetic polymer surfacesand their effect on bacterial fouling development of self-cleaning biomimetic surfaces has the potential to be of great benefit tohuman health, in addition to reducing the economic burden on industries worldwide. Consequently, thisstudy developed a biomimetic wax surface using a moulding technique which emulated the topography ofthe self-cleaningGladiolus hybridus(Gladioli) leaf. A comparison of topographies was performed for un-modified wax surfaces (control), biomimetic wax surfaces, and Gladioli leaves using optical profilometryand scanning electron microscopy. The results demonstrated that the biomimetic wax surface and Gladiolileaf had extremely similar surface roughness parameters, but the water contact angle of the Gladioli leaf wassignificantly higher than the replicated biomimetic surface. The self-cleaning properties of the biomimeticand control surfaces were compared by measuring their propensity to repelEscherichia coliandListeriamonocytogenesattachment, adhesion, and retention in mono- and co-culture conditions. When the bacterialassays were carried out in monoculture, the biomimetic surfaces retained fewer bacteria than the controlsurfaces. However, when using co-cultures of the bacterial species, only following the retention assays werethe bacterial numbers reduced on the biomimetic surfaces. The results demonstrate that such surfaces maybe effective in reducing biofouling if used in the appropriate medical, marine, and industrial scenarios. Thisstudy provides valuable insight into the antifouling physical and chemical control mechanisms found inplants, which are particularly appealing for engineering purposes.

Publication metadata

Author(s): McClements J, Gomes L, Spall J, Saubade F, Akhidime D, Peeters M, Mergulhao F, Whitehead K

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Pure and Applied Chemistry

Year: 2021

Print publication date: 09/08/2021

Online publication date: 01/07/2021

Acceptance date: 28/06/2021

Date deposited: 23/07/2021

ISSN (print): 0033-4545

ISSN (electronic): 1365-3075

Publisher: De Gruyter


DOI: 10.1515/pac-2021-0108


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