Selective bactericidal activity of nanopatterned superhydrophobic cicada Psaltoda claripennis wing surfaces

Appl Microbiol Biotechnol., 97 (20), 9257-9262 (2013)

Jafar Hasan, Hayden K. Webb, Vi Khanh Truong, Sergey Pogodin, Vladimir A. Baulin, Gregory S. Watson, Jolanta A. Watson, Russell J. Crawford, Elena P. Ivanova

The nanopattern on the surface of Clanger cicada (Psaltoda claripennis) wings represents the first example of a new class of biomaterials that can kill bacteria on contact based solely on its physical surface structure. As such, they provide a model for the development of novel functional surfaces that possess an increased resistance to bacterial contamination and infection. Their effectiveness against a wide spectrum of bacteria, however, is yet to be established. Here, the bactericidal properties of the wings were tested against several bacterial species, possessing a range of combinations of morphology and cell wall type. The tested species were primarily pathogens, and included Bacillus subtilis, Branhamella catarrhalis, Escherichia coli, Planococcus maritimus, Pseudomonas aeruginosa, Pseudomonas fluorescens, and Staphylococcus aureus. The wings were found to consistently kill Gram-negative cells (i.e., B. catarrhalis, E. coli, P. aeruginosa, and P. fluorescens), while Gram-positive cells (B. subtilis, P. maritimus, and S. aureus) remained resistant. The morphology of the cells did not appear to play any role in determining cell susceptibility. The bactericidal activity of the wing was also found to be quite efficient; 6.1 ± 1.5 × 106 P. aeruginosa cells in suspension were inactivated per square centimeter of wing surface after 30-min incubation. These findings demonstrate the potential for the development of selective bactericidal surfaces incorporating cicada wing nanopatterns into the design.