Shark skin thwarts the growth of hospital bacteria

Algae cannot grow on sharks because of the micro-structure of their skin. Copying this structure on plastic by way of injection moulding, can also stop the growth of bacteria. 

Sharks have a textured skin that makes them extremely aerodynamic and allows them to 'glide' through the water. Researchers also noted that in contrast with other marine animals such as whales and seals, no algae grow on sharks. It appears that organisms cannot attach onto the shark’s skin.

The texture of shark skin was construed in micro and nano-models (Sharklet©) that was applied using injection moulding technology onto (transparent) plastic films. Clinical tests indicated that there was virtually no bacterial growth on the treated films. Bacteria were unable to attach themselves onto the surfaces treated with the transparent film and therefore could not grow. This technology offers great potential for hospitals.