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Nanomechanical Measurement of Bacterial Adhesion Force Using Soft Nanopillars

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Bacteria adherent to the surface are implicated with biofilm formation and infection. Elastic polymer with tunable mechanical properties, such as PDMS (polydimethyl siloxane), has been used as a substrate for measuring traction force generated by animal cells. In this study, soft pillars (diameter: 900 nm, height: 2 μm, stiffness: 24.1 nN/μm) made of PDMS were used to measure adhesion force between Staphylococcus aureus and PDMS surface. The retraction of soft pillars upon S. aureus binding serves as a means for force estimation and is measured by change of the center-to-center (c-t-c) distance between pillars. Surprisingly, the c-t-c distance between two neighbouring pillars was decreased by 2.2% from its original distance upon bacterial adhesion onto the pillars. Based on the result, the average adhesion force of bacterial binding to pillars was calculated to 0.9±2 nN, which is much higher than expected. This suggests that the soft pillars can be used as a nanomechanical sensor for detecting various bacteria and could be a tool for sensing bacterial adhesion force in nano-newton range.
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Keywords: Bacterial Adhesion; Nanomechanical Sensor; Soft Pillars; Traction Force

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Chemistry and Nano Sciences, Ewha Womans University, Seoul 03760, Korea 2: Department of Mechanical Engineering, Sungkyunkwan University, Suwon 16419, Korea 3: Nano-Convergence Mechanical Systems Research Division, Korea Institute of Machinery and Material, Daejeon 34103, Korea 4: Seoul Center, Korea Basic Science Institute, Seoul 02841, Korea

Publication date: 01 November 2017

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  • Journal for Nanoscience and Nanotechnology (JNN) is an international and multidisciplinary peer-reviewed journal with a wide-ranging coverage, consolidating research activities in all areas of nanoscience and nanotechnology into a single and unique reference source. JNN is the first cross-disciplinary journal to publish original full research articles, rapid communications of important new scientific and technological findings, timely state-of-the-art reviews with author's photo and short biography, and current research news encompassing the fundamental and applied research in all disciplines of science, engineering and medicine.
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