Why Dragon fly Wings Kill Bacteria

American Council on Science and Health : 2/06/2017


Summary: This article looks at the reasons why dragonfly wings are so good at killing microbes. The study has brought into question why micro pili are effective against bacteria. Previous thinking was that it acted like a bed of nails of equal height and the membrane was punctured on the nails. New research shows that pili heights are non consistent and that their membranes are actually torn open by their own extracellular proteins  getting caught and tearing the membrane.  The researchers hope to apply this knowledge to create more efficient antimicrobial surfaces.

Connections: This relates to our discussion of biofilms. this technology demonstrates a way of inhibiting biofilms from forming by taking advantage of their own tendencies and extracellular structure.

Analysis: i find the story very interesting. The implications of creating a surface immune to biofilms that can be created relatively cheaply with 3d printing could revolutionize any number of fields. The study does need to use with a variety of bacteria still to prove its effectiveness but the work done with E. coli seems to very well done with a control and repeated examples of the tearing:

Question: Would this have the same effect on eukaryotic cells or would the increased scale counteract the effect of the micropili

1 Comment for “Why Dragon fly Wings Kill Bacteria”



I found the article interesting in how the authors related the texture of dragonfly wings to black silicone and how bacteria tend to form biofilms on the “nanopillars.” When they do not move, they are eventually, essentially torn apart. However, the nanopillars only penetrate the cell once the cell has been ripped open.

I’m not entirely sure how to answer this question. If scientists are intending to replicate the effects of dragonfly wings on bacteria, I would think they would not really be interested in what the effect would be on eukarotic organisms. However, I will do my best to answer the question.
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3677344/ gives the reader an idea of wing length on dragonflies, but it doesn’t tell you the average size of the nanoplilli.
Eukaryotic cells are typically between 0.01 and 0.5 mm (Clark College).