Flexible Hierarchical Wraps Repel Drug-Resistant Gram-Negative and Positive Bacteria
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Healthcare acquired infections are a major human health problem, and are becoming increasingly troublesome with the emergence of drug resistant bacteria. Engineered surfaces that reduce the adhesion, proliferation, and spread of bacteria have promise as a mean of preventing infections and reducing the use of antibiotics. To address this need, we created a flexible plastic wrap that combines a hierarchical wrinkled structure with chemical functionalization to reduce bacterial adhesion, biofilm formation, and the transfer of bacteria through an intermediate surface. These hierarchical wraps were effective for reducing biofilm formation of World Health Organization-designated priority pathogens Gram positive methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (MRSA) and Gram negative Pseudomonas aeruginosa by 87 and 84%, respectively. In addition, these surfaces remain free of bacteria after being touched by a contaminated surface with Gram negative E. coli. We showed that these properties are the result of broad liquid repellency of the engineered surfaces and the presence of reduced anchor points for bacterial adhesion on the hierarchical structure. Such wraps are fabricated using scalable bottom-up techniques and form an effective cover on a variety of complex objects, making them superior to top-down and substrate-specific surface modification methods.
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