Magneto-mechanically actuated microstructures to efficiently prevent bacterial biofilm formation.
Biofilm colonisation of surfaces is of critical importance in various areas ranging from indwelling medical devices to industrial setups. Of particular importance is the reduced susceptibility of bacteria embedded in a biofilm to existing antimicrobial agents. In this paper, we demonstrate that remotely actuated magnetic cantilevers grafted on a substrate act efficiently in preventing bacterial biofilm formation. When exposed to an alternating magnetic field, the flexible magnetic cantilevers vertically deflect from their initial position periodically, with an extremely low frequency (0.16 Hz). The cantilevers' beating prevents the initial stage of bacterial adhesion to the substrate surface and the subsequent biofilm growth. Our experimental data on E. coli liquid cultures demonstrate up to a 70% reduction in biofilm formation. A theoretical model has been developed to predict the amplitude of the cantilevers vertical deflection. Our results demonstrate proof-of-concept for a device that can magneto-mechanically prevent the first stage in bacterial biofilm formation, acting as on-demand fouling release active surfaces.