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    Lateral force removal of fungal spores to demonstrate how surface properties affect fungal spore retention

    Whitehead, KA, Deisenroth, T, Preuss, A, Liauw, CM ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9055-6704 and Verran, J ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-5539-6896 (2022) Lateral force removal of fungal spores to demonstrate how surface properties affect fungal spore retention. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences, 380 (2232). p. 20210344. ISSN 1364-503X

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    Microbial biofouling on polymer surfaces can lead to their biodeterioration. This may result in deterioration of the surface, leading to cracking and fracturing. Fungal spores from Aspergillus niger 1957, Aspergillus niger 1988 and Aureobasidium pullulans were tested to determine their strength of attachment on three surfaces, p(γ-MPS-co-MMA), p(γ-MPS-co-LMA) and spin-coated poly(methyl methacrylate) (PMMAsc), using lateral force measurements. The results demonstrate that A. niger 1957 and A. niger 1988 spores were most easily removed from the p(γ-MPS-co-MMA) surface, which was the surface with the highest R a value. The A. niger 1957 and A. pullulans spores were most difficult to remove from the PMMAsc surface, which was the hardest surface. A. niger 1988 spores were the most difficult to remove from p(γ-MPS-co-LMA), the most hydrophobic surface. The results with A. pullulans were difficult to elucidate since the spores bound to all three surfaces and were removed with similar rates of force. The lateral force results demonstrate that spore attachment to a surface is a multi-factorial process, and independent surface and microbial factors influence spore binding. Thus, each environmental scenario needs to be considered on an individual basis, since a solution to one biofouling issue will probably not translate across to other systems. This article is part of the theme issue 'Nanocracks in nature and industry'.

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