Mechano-bactericidal materials rely on mechanical interactions between nanomaterials and bacteria, and are promising antimicrobial strategies that overcome bacterial resistance. However, the real effect of mechanical versus chemical action on their activity is under debate. In this paper, we quantify the forces necessary to produce critical damage to the bacterial cell wall by performing simultaneous nanoindentation and fluorescence imaging of single bacterial cells. Our experimental setup allows puncturing the cell wall of an immobilized bacterium with the tip of an atomic force microscope (AFM) and following in real time the increase in the fluorescence signal from a cell membrane integrity marker. We correlate the forces exerted by the AFM tip with the fluorescence dynamics for tens of cells, and we found that forces above 20 nN are necessary to exert critical damage. Moreover, a similar experiment is performed in which bacterial viability is assessed through physiological activity, in order to gain a more complete view of the effect of mechanical forces on bacteria. Our results contribute to the quantitative understanding of the interaction between bacteria and nanomaterials.

Mechanically-Induced Bacterial Death Imaged in Real-Time: a Simultaneous Nanoindentation and Fluorescence Microscopy Study

Tone, Caterina M.;
2020

Abstract

Mechano-bactericidal materials rely on mechanical interactions between nanomaterials and bacteria, and are promising antimicrobial strategies that overcome bacterial resistance. However, the real effect of mechanical versus chemical action on their activity is under debate. In this paper, we quantify the forces necessary to produce critical damage to the bacterial cell wall by performing simultaneous nanoindentation and fluorescence imaging of single bacterial cells. Our experimental setup allows puncturing the cell wall of an immobilized bacterium with the tip of an atomic force microscope (AFM) and following in real time the increase in the fluorescence signal from a cell membrane integrity marker. We correlate the forces exerted by the AFM tip with the fluorescence dynamics for tens of cells, and we found that forces above 20 nN are necessary to exert critical damage. Moreover, a similar experiment is performed in which bacterial viability is assessed through physiological activity, in order to gain a more complete view of the effect of mechanical forces on bacteria. Our results contribute to the quantitative understanding of the interaction between bacteria and nanomaterials.
antibacterial, atomic force microscopy, mechano-bactericidal materials, mechanomicrobiology, nanomanipulation, real-time imaging
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/20.500.11770/304871
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