How can steel manufacturers and biologists work together? Among other things, they can cover steel with an antibacterial coating. The Biocoat programme, which began in 2006, has recently been rewarded with several publications (1) and patent registrations. This has led to a technological innovation platform: Symbiose Biomaterials. Why? To expand beyond the steel sector and extend Biocoat’s assets to other media and new applications.
Mussels and batrachians
Nature provided the scientists with models on two levels: for the glue and the antibacterial substance. The choice of glue was quickly resolved owing to the great number of studies on this subject. Marine molluscs, especially the mussel, secrete a DOPA-based adhesive which allows it to stick to almost any kind of surface; Christophe Detrembleur’s team took this active ingredient and inserted it into polymers. They tested different architectures until they found the best “glue”, i.e. the anchoring layer that would allow them to bind the antibacterial coating to steel.
(1) Among the most recent:
A green and bio-inspired process to afford durable antibiofilm properties to stainless steel ; Faure, Emilie et al. In Biofouling 2012, 28, 719-728.