Study on micro fabricated stainless steel surface to anti-biofouling using electrochemical fabrication
© The Author(s) 2017
Received: 29 September 2016
Accepted: 15 February 2017
Published: 2 March 2017
Biofilm formed on the surface of the object by the microorganism resulting in fouling organisms. This has led to many problems in daily life, medicine, health and industrial community. In this study, we tried to prevent biofilm formation on the stainless steel (SS304) sheet surface with micro fabricated structure. After then forming the microscale colloid patterns on the surface of stainless steel by using an electrochemical etching forming a pattern by using a FeCl3 etching was further increase the surface roughness. Culturing the Pseudomonas aeruginosa on the stainless steel fabricated with a micro structure on the surface was observed a relationship between the surface roughness and the biological fouling of the micro structure. As a result, the stainless steel surface with a micro structure was confirmed to be the biological fouling occurs less. We expect to be able to solve the problems caused by biological fouling in various fields such as medicine, engineering, using this research.
KeywordsAnti-biofouling Micro pattern Stainless Electrochemical
Biofilm is formed in a thin film form on a microorganism. This is three-dimensional structure formed in a self-secreting oligomer substrate (polymeric matrix) on a various surface. Biofilm by the microorganism can be formed from almost any type of tissue of the solid surface and the living organisms . In particular, the biofilm formed in water pipes, water purifiers and water quality monitoring sensors can give damage to the industry and daily life. Biofilm is difficult to remove, it is strongly attached to the surface, it continues to release the microorganism from the surface [1, 2]. Biofilm will cause a very large problem in public health because it acts as a repository for microorganisms. Biofilm formed in the detection section of the sensor requiring high sensitivity and high accuracy degrades the detection performance of the sensor.
Biofilm formation prevention or removal methods because of these problems has been developed. Up to date, Biofilm prevention coating or removal method has a problem that affects not only biofilm but also a device or surface. Physical methods like sand-blasting for removing biofilm on vessel surface or instrument surface require constant management by thinning the thickness of protective coating such as paint on the surface. On the other hand, Wrinkle-like micropatterns formed on the skin surface of the whale or on the shells of many shellfishes and leaves of lotus are effective in preventing the biofilm formation that easily occurs in the underwater environment [3–8].
Microstructure was formed using an electrochemical etching (ECF) and FeCl3 etching solution on the surface of stainless steel (SS304) which is widely used in medical, industrial purpose [9–11]. After the microstructures formed on the surface, Pseudomonas aeruginosa Pa14 were cultured and evaluate biofilm formation tendency stained with crystal violet dye by gram staining.
Fabrication of micro structure
Surface properties of microscale structure formed surface
FeCl3 etching time of the contact angle and surface roughness
FeCl3 etching (min)
Contact angle (˚)
Roughness, Ra (nm)
Microbial culture in a stainless steel surface
Biofilm formation tendency of the microstructure fabricated surface
Biofilm formation tendency of the roughness and the contact angle of the surface
In this study, after the microstructure of the stainless steel fabrication, biofilm formation was analyzed in accordance with the contact angle and the surface roughness changes. Microstructure was formed by using the photolithography and etching method for the electrochemical. The contact angle and the surface roughness was adjusted using FeCl3 solution through the etching process.
The biofilm formation on the stainless steel surface, on which pore-type microstructures were formed through ECF, was considerably lower than that on the stainless steel surface without patterning. However, it can be seen that the formation of smaller pores on the surface by increasing the FeCl3 etching treatment time tends to increase the formation of biofilm again. This results in the formation of a smaller pore pattern on the surface, which increases the roughness of the surface and increases the hydrophilicity of the interface between the surface and the culture fluid. An environment that can be easily attached to the surface due to increased hydrophilicity promotes biofilm formation, with some structures appearing to play the same role as a framework of thicker biofilm formation.
Research on biofilm formation control has been continuously carried out to clarify the mechanism of biofilm formation. The difference in biofilm formation depending on the interface between liquid and surface is expected to be applied to the future research on pollution prevention surface and high cultured media for bacteria. It could be used to reduce the damage caused by fouling organisms.
BJ carried out the experiment and drafted the manuscript. SH participated in the design of the study and performed the analysis. BJ and SH conceived of the study, and participated in its design and coordination. Both authors read and approved the final manuscript.
The authors declare that they have no competing interests.
We would like to acknowledge the financial support of the R&D Convergence Program of the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning (MSIP) and the National Research Council of Science & Technology (NST) of the Republic of Korea (Grant B551179-12-04-00).
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