Self-Locomotive Microbubbler for Active Biofilm Removal
Hyunjoon Kong, Yongbeom Seo, Yu-Heng Deng, Yu-Tong Hong.
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Urbana, IL, USA.
Bacterial cells form a biofilm on and within any materials and living tissues, negatively impacting human health and sustainability. Tremendous efforts have been conducted to remove biofilms from the substrates using various antibiotics and disinfectants. However, bacterial cells residing in biofilms are deemed 100 to 1,000 times more resistant to antibiotics and disinfecting agents than planktonic cells because the extracellular polymeric substances (EPS) matrix limits the transport of the anti-microbial agents and neutralizes them chemically. Therefore, removing biofilm remains a grand challenge despite tremendous efforts made so far, particularly when they are formed in confined spaces. To overcome this challenge, we present a bubbling microparticle that can actively penetrate and rupture biofilm matrix in confined spaces by generating, fusing, and bursting microbubbles. The bubbling microparticle was fabricated by doping manganese oxide (MnO2) nanosheets onto porous diatom silica particles. In antiseptic hydrogen peroxide (H2O2) solution, the MnO2 nanosheet-doped diatom became self-motile by generating oxygen gas bubbles. Subsequently, the diatom microbubblers infiltrated the biofilm structure. Within the EPS matrix, the diatom bubblers keep producing micro-sized bubbles that merged and, in turn, converted surface energy to mechanical energy high enough to fracture the biofilm. As a result, H2O2 molecules efficiently diffused into the biofilm and killed bacterial cells.
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