American Chemical Society
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Biomimicking Micropatterned Surfaces and Their Effect on Marine Biofouling

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journal contribution
posted on 2014-08-05, 00:00 authored by Agata M. Brzozowska, Fernando J. Parra-Velandia, Robert Quintana, Zhu Xiaoying, Serina S. C. Lee, Lim Chin-Sing, Dominik Jańczewski, Serena L.-M. Teo, Julius G. Vancso
When synthetic materials are submerged in marine environments, dissolved matter and marine organisms attach to their surfaces by a process known as marine fouling. This phenomenon may lead to diminished material performance with detrimental consequences. Bioinspired surface patterning and chemical surface modifications present promising approaches to the design of novel functional surfaces that can prevent biofouling phenomena. In this study, we report the synergistic effects of surface patterns, inspired by the marine decapod crab Myomenippe hardwickii in combination with chemical surface modifications toward suppressing marine fouling. M. hardwickii is known to maintain a relatively clean carapace although the species occurs in biofouling communities of tropical shallow subtidal coastal waters. Following the surface analysis of selected specimens, we designed hierarchical surface microtopographies that replicate the critical features observed on the crustacean surface. The micropatterned surfaces were modified with zwitterionic polymer brushes or with layer-by-layer deposited polyelectrolyte multilayers to enhance their antifouling and/or fouling-release potential. Chemically modified and unmodified micropatterned surfaces were subjected to extensive fouling tests, including laboratory assays against barnacle settlement and algae adhesion, and field static immersion tests. The results show a statistically significant reduction in settlement on the micropatterned surfaces as well as a synergistic effect when the microtopographies are combined with grafted polymer chains.