Dragon Plastic

DING, DING! Bacteria vs….dragonflies?!

This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science… saying

The winner… Dragonflies! Their wings are covered with tiny spikes that tear through bacteria like pizza dough! Could we borrow this spiky design to fend off germs? 

Enter Denver Linklater of Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology in Australia and team. They got an idea for ANTIBACTERIAL food packaging! The researchers covered four types of plastic with tiny spikes. Then they dunked spiky AND smooth plastics in a bacterial bath. Finally, they counted how much bacteria on the plastic survived!

Results? The spiky plastic ALWAYS had a higher fraction of dead bacteria than the smooth! Of the four plastics, the nylon and acrylic were best at fending off bacteria. The spikes increased the dead bacteria from less than twenty to more than FIFTY percent!

These two plastics are used to make utensils and food containers. Covering them with tiny spikes could keep our food fresh longer!

Those would be great for the blueberries in my fridge… oh wait… those were grapes.

Reference: Linklater, D. P., Saita, S., Murata, T., Yanagishita, T., Dekiwadia, C., Crawford, R. J., Masuda, H., Kusaka, H., & Ivanova, E. P. (2022). Nanopillar Polymer Films as Antibacterial Packaging Materials. ACS Applied Nano Materials, 5(2), 2578–2591. https://doi.org/10.1021/acsanm.1c04251