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27, No. 16, 2011; Pages: 10035 - 10040

Nanostructure on Taro Leaves Resists Fouling by Colloids and Bacteria under Submerged Conditions

Jianwei Ma, Yuekai Sun, Karla Gleichauf, Jun Lou, and Qilin Li

Department of Civil and Environmental Engineering, Rice University, Houston, Texas 77005, United States.


The antifouling and self-cleaning properties of plants such as Nelumbo nucifera (lotus) and Colocasia esculenta (taro) have been attributed to the superhydrophobicity resulting from the hierarchical surface structure of the leaf and the air trapped between the nanosized epicuticular wax crystals. The reported study showed that the nanostructures on the taro leaf surfaces were also highly resistant to particle and bacterial adhesion under completely wetted conditions. Adhesion force measurements using atomic force microscopy revealed that the adhesion force on top of the papilla as well as the area around it was markedly lower than that on the edge of an epidermal cell. The decreased adhesion force and the resistance to particle and bacterial adhesion were attributed to the dense nanostructures found on the epidermal papilla and the area surrounding it. These results suggest that engineered surfaces with properly designed nanoscale topographic structures could potentially reduce or prevent particle/bacterial fouling under submerged conditions.




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