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Biointerfaces and biofouling
journal contributionposted on 06.12.2017, 00:00 by H Kanematsu, James Chapman
Biofouling can be defined as the attachment, adhesion and proliferation of organisms on materials that causes a netnegative effect. Typically, the biofilm proliferation process is divided into two classes – micro- and macro-fouling. For thelatter, barnacles, oysters and some other relatively ‘large’ organisms play important roles in marine environments, waterpipes, heat exchangers, etc., causing series problems to the user faced with addressing the issue.Microfouling refers to theinitial layer of adhered cells whose adhesion is not reversible, which will in time develop into macrofouling. A criticalelement of these processes is the formation of a biofilm on the material’s surface. Bacteria sheathed in a biofilm have ahigher resistance to antibiotics and cleaning agents, thus increasing their overall survival probability – representing anevolutionary survival strategy. The mechanisms of bacterial adhesion are slightly different from those of macrofoulingcolonising organisms. The knowledge gained from these two basic principles has evolved since the 1990s; however, thereis still an obvious void in fundamental knowledge. The aim of this special issue is to review some recent advances inmaterials design and surface functionalisation that have been developed, on the basis of these foundation principles, tomitigate biofouling.