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Biomed Mater. 2017 Jul 26;12(4):045015. doi: 10.1088/1748-605X/aa734e.

Bacterial attachment on titanium surfaces is dependent on topography and chemical changes induced by nonthermal atmospheric pressure plasma.

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Department and Research Institute of Dental Biomaterials and Bioengineering, Yonsei University College of Dentistry, 50-1 Yonsei-ro, Seodaemungu, Seoul 03722, Republic of Korea. BK21 Plus Project, Yonsei University of College of Dentistry, 50-1 Yonsei-ro, Seodaemungu, Seoul 03722, Republic of Korea.


Here, we investigated the antibacterial effects of chemical changes induced by nonthermal atmospheric pressure plasma (NTAPP) on smooth and rough Ti. The morphologies of smooth and rough surfaces of Ti were examined using scanning electron microscopy (SEM). Both Ti specimens were then treated for 10 min by NTAPP with nitrogen gas. The surface roughness, chemistry, and wettability were examined by optical profilometry, x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and water contact angle analysis, respectively. Bacterial attachment was measured by determining the number of colony forming units and by SEM analysis. The rough Ti showed irregular micropits, whereas smooth Ti had a relatively regular pattern on the surface. There were no differences in morphology between samples before and after NTAPP treatment. NTAPP treatment resulted in changes from hydrophobic to hydrophilic properties on rough and smooth Ti; rough Ti showed relatively higher hydrophilicity. Before NTAPP treatment, Streptococcus sanguinis (S. sanguinis) showed greater attachment on rough Ti, and after NTAPP treatment, there was a significant reduction in bacterial attachment. Moreover, the bacterial attachment rate was significantly lower on rough Ti, and the structure of S. sanguinis colonies were significantly changed on NTAPP-treated Ti. NTAPP treatment inhibited bacterial attachment surrounding titanium implants, regardless of surface topography. Therefore, NTAPP treatment on Ti is a next-generation tool for antibacterial applications in the orthopaedic and dental fields.

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