Feeds

Boffins brew eyes on bugs' wings

Surface 'rips bacteria to shreds'

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

Scientists at an Australian university have grown eye cells on Cicadas' wings, after noticing that the nano-structures on that part of the insects' bodies have anti-bacterial properties.

The James Cook University researchers chose retinal cells as their test case because, as they said to AAP, these cells “won't grow just anywhere. You have to have a certain surface for them to be happy.”

The success of the retinal cell experiment comes a decade after Dr Gregory Watson and his wife, Dr Jolanta Watson, noticed how cicada wings outlasted the bodies of the dead insects.

“We'd noticed that the wings of the dead insects on the ground were not consumed or contaminated in the same manner as their bodies,” he says in this statement from the university.

“As bacteria play such an important role in decomposition, we thought there may be something responsible for this effect.”

Looking at the wings through an atomic force microscope, the researchers observed something else: “we measured very little adhesion between the Cicada wings and natural contaminants such as soil fragments and pollens,” Dr Watson said.

It took an international team of biophysicists to explain the mechanism by which the Cicada wings kill bacteria: their surface has nano-pillars on a scale similar to the size of bacteria. When a bacterial cell settles on the wings, it's stretched between the nanopillars until its surface membrane breaks.

While it only works on bacteria with the right level of membrane rigidity, it's the first time a surface has been found that can destroy bacteria solely through its physical structure – an attractive proposition in a world bedevilled by the rise of “superbugs”.

Scientific American has more on the nano-structures, with videos, here. ®

Top 5 reasons to deploy VMware with Tegile

More from The Register

next story
Renewable energy 'simply WON'T WORK': Top Google engineers
Windmills, solar, tidal - all a 'false hope', say Stanford PhDs
Bond villains lament as Wicked Lasers withdraw death ray
Want to arm that shark? Better get in there quick
The next big thing in medical science: POO TRANSPLANTS
Your brother's gonna die, kid, unless we can give him your, well ...
SEX BEAST SEALS may be egging each other on to ATTACK PENGUINS
Boffin: 'I think the behaviour is increasing in frequency'
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Britain's HUMAN DNA-strewing Moon mission rakes in £200k
3 days, and Kickstarter moves lander 37% nearer takeoff
Simon's says quantum computing will work
Boffins blast algorithm with half a dozen qubits
LIFE, JIM? Comet probot lander found 'ORGANICS' on far-off iceball
That's it for God, then – if Comet 67P has got complex molecules
prev story

Whitepapers

Choosing cloud Backup services
Demystify how you can address your data protection needs in your small- to medium-sized business and select the best online backup service to meet your needs.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
How to simplify SSL certificate management
Simple steps to take control of SSL certificates across the enterprise, and recommendations centralizing certificate management throughout their lifecycle.