With recent advancements of science and technology, new discoveries have been made showing that nature has provided every means for the wellbeing of humans. One of these means is antifouling micro-structures. Investigations among marine animals showed that sharks stay totally free of any microorganism attachment, hence completely immune from microbial infections. Further research revealed that sharkskin reduces drag force due to its surface microstructure which led to some speculations among scientists that the unique morphology might be responsible for prevention of microorganism attachment. Herein we decided to investigate the biological properties of sharkskin morphology by mimicking its surface micro-topography using polymeric membranes.
In this regard, we have fabricated bio-mimicked structures using soft lithography and solvent casting methods. We aimed to investigate the physicochemical and mechanical properties of sharkskin mimicked micro-patterned polymeric membranes. Among commonly used polymers, Chitosan (CH) was chosen due to its potentials for mimicking micro and nano-structures along with its excellent biological properties. Propolis extract (CAPE) and Graphene Oxide (GO) were used as additives in forms of composite and surface coating.
Mechanical, physical and chemical properties of fabricated membranes were tested as the first step of our study. Elongation at break and Tensile Strength tests were conducted for mechanical characterization. As for physical and chemical characterizations, swelling test, surface energy measurement, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FTIR), X-Ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy (XPS), and Raman spectroscopy were used. So far, our results have shown significant differences among our groups. Thus, in vitro experiments will be conducted in order to evaluate cellular responses of mammalian cells along with bactericidal properties using Gram-positive Staphylococcus aureus bacterial strains as model bacteria and Human Dermal Fibroblast and Human Keratinocyte cell lines for the cell culture experiments.