Formation of an Antifouling Coating by the Self-Assembly of a Fluorinated Tripeptide

Sivan Nir, Chemistry, The Hebrew University of Jerusalem, Jerusalem, Israel

Biofouling is an undesirable process in which a surface becomes encrusted with organisms and their by-products. The process initiates with the non-specific adsorption of various biopolymers (e.g. proteins, polysaccharides, etc.) to the surface, and continues with the attachment of organisms to this layer on a substrate. This unwanted colonization can cause degradation of medical devices and implants, severe infections and even death. The naval industry is also subjected to the settlement of marine organisms. Devices covered with marine species suffer from deterioration of the surface and increase in drag force, fuel consumption and hull maintenance costs. Furthermore, biofouling accelerates mechanical degradation of materials comprising pipes, seals, and nuclear waste vessels ultimately compromising water quality. A considerable effort has been invested in the past decade in research and development towards green and non-toxic of antifouling coatings, however, an ideal solution has not been found yet.

Recently, we have developed a tripeptide that spontaneously self assembles into a nanometric coating with antifouling activity. The peptide contains three elements that enable i) its self-assembly into a film, ii) its adsorption onto any substrate and iii) its antifouling activity. The advantages of using peptides for this purpose are concealed in peptides biocompatibility, chemical diversity, and ease for large scale synthesis. Our  results demonstrate the spontaneous formation of a nanometric film by this peptide on various surfaces. In addition, we clearly showed that the peptide-based coating completely prevented the first stage of biofouling and abolished the adsorption of proteins to a substrate. Moreover, the coating significantly reduced the amount of different bacterial strains adsorbed on the substrate.

The peptide presented here can serve in applications related to health care, marine industry and water treatment. 

Maity, S., Nir, S., Reches, M., Self-assembly of a tripeptide into a coating that resists fouling, chem.commun. 2014, 50 (76), 11154-11157 .

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