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Cicada Wing Surface Topography: An Investigation into the Bactericidal Properties of Nanostructural Features

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Biomedical Diagnostics Institute, §School of Biotechnology, and National Centre for Plasma Science and Technology, Dublin City University, Dublin 9, Ireland
School of Chemical and Bioprocess Engineering, University College Dublin, Belfield, Dublin 4, Ireland
Cite this: ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces 2016, 8, 24, 14966–14974
Publication Date (Web):November 9, 2015
Copyright © 2015 American Chemical Society

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    Recently, the surface of the wings of the Psaltoda claripennis cicada species has been shown to possess bactericidal properties and it has been suggested that the nanostructure present on the wings was responsible for the bacterial death. We have studied the surface-based nanostructure and bactericidal activity of the wings of three different cicadas (Megapomponia intermedia, Ayuthia spectabile and Cryptotympana aguila) in order to correlate the relationship between the observed surface topographical features and their bactericidal properties. Atomic force microscopy and scanning electron microscopy performed in this study revealed that the tested wing species contained a highly uniform, nanopillar structure on the surface. The bactericidal properties of the cicada wings were investigated by assessing the viability of autofluorescent Pseudomonas fluorescens cells following static adhesion assays and targeted dead/live fluorescence staining through direct microscopic counting methods. These experiments revealed a 20–25% bacterial surface coverage on all tested wing species; however, significant bactericidal properties were observed in the M. intermedia and C. aguila species as revealed by the high dead:live cell ratio on their surfaces. The combined results suggest a strong correlation between the bactericidal properties of the wings and the scale of the nanotopography present on the different wing surfaces.

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    The Supporting Information is available free of charge on the ACS Publications website at DOI: 10.1021/acsami.5b08309.

    • Figure S1, SEM images of ME before and after sonication; Figure S2, variance in nanotopography across ME; Figure S3, SEM images of ME, CA, and AY; Figure S4, tTilted SEM images of ME, CA, and AY; Figure S5, 3D AFM images of AY, CA, and ME; Table S1, dData used to calculate the average number of pillars per bacterial cell (PDF)

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