High-Throughput Biofilm Assay to Investigate Bacterial Interactions with Surface Topographies

Sang Won Lee, Erick L. Johnson, J. Alex Chediak, Hainsworth Shin, Yi Wang, K. Scott Phillips, Dacheng Ren

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


The specific topography of biomaterials plays an important role in their biological interactions with cells and thus the safety of medical implants. Antifouling materials can be engineered with topographic features to repel microbes. Meanwhile, undesired topographies of implants can cause complications such as breast implant-associated anaplastic large cell lymphoma (BIA-ALCL). While the cause of BIA-ALCL is not well understood, it is speculated that textured surfaces are prone to bacterial biofilm formation as a contributing factor. To guide the design of safer biomaterials and implants, quantitative screening approaches are needed to assess bacterial adhesion to different topographic surface features. Here we report the development of a high-throughput microplate biofilm assay for such screening. The assay was used to test a library of polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) textures composed of varying sizes of recessive features and distances between features including those in the range of breast implant textures. Outliers of patterns prone to bacterial adhesion were further studied using real-time confocal fluorescence microscopy. The results from these analyses revealed that surface area itself is a poor predictor for adhesion, while the size and spacing of topographic features play an important role. This high-throughput biofilm assay can be applied to studying bacteria-material interactions and rational development of materials that inhibit bacterial colonization.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3816-3825
Number of pages10
JournalACS Applied Bio Materials
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 15 2022


  • biofilm
  • breast implant
  • high-throughput assay
  • texture
  • topography

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biomaterials
  • General Chemistry
  • Biomedical Engineering
  • Biochemistry, medical


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