Biomaterials are increasingly being used to replace human organs and tissues. Since biomaterials are susceptible to microbial colonization, silver is often added to reduce the adhesion of bacteria to biomaterials and prevent infections. However, a recent study by researchers in Portugal suggests that – in one material – increasing levels of silver may indirectly promote bacterial adhesion.
Figure: SEM micrographs of S. epidermidis IE186 adhered to Ag-TiCN coatings after 2 h and 24 h period of contact: adhesion and biofilm formation to Ag/Ti = 0 a1) and a2) respectively; to Ag/Ti = 0.37 b1) and b2) respectively; to Ag/Ti = 0.62 c1) and c2) respectively. (C) I. Carvalho et al. Sci.
Published in the journal Science and Technology of Advanced Materials (http://dx.doi.org/10.1088/1468-6996/14/3/035009), the study examined how surface properties affect the adhesion of Staphylococcus epidermidis bacteria to silver-titanium carbonitride (Ag-TiCN) coatings used for hip implant applications.Normally found on human skin and mucous membranes, Staphyloccus epidermidis is one of the main pathogens associated with prosthetic device infections. A nanocomposite thin film, titanium carbonitride is non-toxic to human cells and features excellent wear resistance, high hardness and good corrosion resistance.
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