Antimicrobial insect wings

Image from Flickr EOL; Taken by Arthur Chapman Image from Flickr EOL; Taken by Arthur Chapman

The animation below from Nature shows a bacteria rupturing after landing on nanopillars present on the surface of a clanger cicada (Psaltoda claripennis) wing. Dr. Ivanova (Swinburne University, Australia) and colleagues showed that nanopillars rupture the bacteria by straining the cell wall.

Some scientists see this as an opportunity to create anti-bacterial surfaces in public places simply by coating the surface of objects with nanopillars.


Pogodin S, Hasan J, Baulin VA, Webb K, Khanh Truong V, Nguyen THP, Boshovikj V, Fluke CJ, Watson GS, Watson JA, Crawford RJ, Ivanova EP. Biophysical Model of Bacterial Cell Interactions with Nanopatterned Cicada Wing Surfaces. Biophysical Journal, 104(4): 835-840, 2013. doi:10.1016/j.bpj.2012.12.046

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Nasty but effective... like micro-scale punji sticks :O