Self-Replenishing Vascularized Fouling-Release Surfaces


Howell C, Vu TL, Lin JJ, Kolle S, Juthani N, Watson E, Weaver JC, Alvarenga J, Aizenberg J. Self-Replenishing Vascularized Fouling-Release Surfaces. ACS Appl. Mater. Interfaces. 2014;6 (15) :13299-13307.


Inspired by the long-term effectiveness of living
antifouling materials, we have developed a method for the self-
replenishment of synthetic biofouling-release surfaces. These
surfaces are created by either molding or directly embedding
3D vascular systems into polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) and
filling them with a silicone oil to generate a nontoxic oil-
infused material. When replenished with silicone oil from an
outside source, these materials are capable of self-lubrication
and continuous renewal of the interfacial fouling-release layer.
Under accelerated lubricant loss conditions, fully infused vascularized samples retained significantly more lubricant than equivalent nonvascularized controls. Tests of lubricant-infused PDMS in static cultures of the infectious bacteria Staphylococcus aureus and Escherichia coli as well as the green microalgae Botryococcus braunii, Chlamydomonas reinhardtii, Dunaliella salina, and Nannochloropsis oculata showed a significant reduction in biofilm adhesion compared to PDMS and glass controls containing no lubricant. Further experiments on vascularized versus nonvascularized samples that had been subjected to accelerated lubricant evaporation conditions for up to 48 h showed significantly less biofilm adherence on the vascularized surfaces. These results demonstrate the ability of an embedded lubricant-filled vascular network to improve the longevity of fouling-release surfaces.


The authors thank Ron Parsons and Joel Butler at Solix Biosystems for providing the N. oculata cultures, and John Skutnik for the D. salina cultures. The authors also thank Shira Lehmann, Bobak Mosadegh and A. Arias Palomo for technical assistance, Isa DuMond for culture assistance, and Ian Burgess for editorial assistance. The leaf vasculature used for the 3D molds was taken by Jon Sullivan ( and obtained from the public domain at Wikimedia Commons. The information, data, or work presented herein was funded in part by the Office of Naval Research under award no. N00014- 11-1-0641 and by the Advanced Research Projects Agency-Energy (ARPA-E) under award no. DE-AR0000326.

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Last updated on 05/04/2018