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Bacteria insight to improve implants

Researchers from Swinburne University of Technology have made a discovery that could go a long way to improving the success rates of artificial implants and reduce the risk of bacterial outbreaks in hospitals.

In a paper published in Langmuir, the journal of the American Chemical Society, the researchers debunked a common theory about the way bacteria adhere to surfaces.

Up until now scientists believed that bacteria attach more easily to rough surfaces, based on the theory that microscopic valleys provide shelter from disinfection processes. Some implant manufacturers have even made their products ‘nano-smooth’ to prevent bacteria from finding protection from the sterilisation process.

However, using nano-smooth titanium and microbiological analysis techniques, the Swinburne team, including microbiologist Professor Elena Ivanova and surface chemist Professor Russell Crawford, disproved this theory.
According to Crawford, the researchers were able to show smooth surfaces are actually more attractive to some problematic bacteria, meaning a higher degree of bacterial colonisation on smooth surfaces than on rough.

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