Biomedical Engineering and Communications

Researchers study how nature kills bacteria to deliver infection resistant medical implants

14 April 2021

Researchers from LSBU are leading an international project aimed at reducing bacterial infection during the surgical process of medical implants. The team of academics is working to understand how the antibacterial properties found in many animals and plants can be used in medical implants. Dragonfly wings, lotus leaves and cicada wings possess body features that can kill bacteria.

The researchers are studying surface structures using robust precision measurement systems to create efficient antibacterial surfaces by using advanced lasers and 3D computer models.

The antibacterial properties would be used in prosthetics which support hundreds of thousands of people around the world. More than 45,000 people in England rely on prosthetic limbs and over 5,000 people a year have lower-limb amputations.

More details about the research project can be found in Applied Physics Reviews journal, 'Bactericidal surfaces: An emerging 21st-century ultra-precision manufacturing and materials puzzle.

Saurav Goel, Associate Professor in the School of Engineering at LSBU said, “Objects in nature have unique features, like spikes sharper than a bacterium, which give them the power to disturb and kill a bacterium, making them antibacterial. We can make these features with our ultraprecision engineering instruments in our nature-inspired Precision Laboratory.”

“The potential benefits of creating medical implants with anti-bacterial properties are huge and could deliver major health benefits for patients with fewer infections and reduced costs for healthcare services.”