Hydrothermally etched titanium for the mitigation of implant associated infection

Author: Andrew Hayles

Hayles, Andrew, 2023 Hydrothermally etched titanium for the mitigation of implant associated infection, Flinders University, College of Medicine and Public Health

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The growing demand for titanium-based implants and the subsequent rise in implant-associated infections necessitates novel developments in anti-infective technologies. Recent research has drawn inspiration from nature to solve this problem. The nanoscale topography observed on cicada and dragonfly wings serves as a blueprint for synthetic analogues which seek to kill bacteria on contact through mechanical forces. This type of interaction has been dubbed the mechano-bactericidal effect. Various techniques have been utilized to mimic and improve-upon these natural bactericidal surfaces. Alkaline hydrothermal etching is a simple and cost-effective technique to fabricate nanoscale protrusions on titanium and its alloys.

In recent years, hydrothermally etched titanium, along with similar nanostructured surfaces, has been the focus of much research. Currently, the existing literature is centred around the capacity for these mechano-bactericidal surfaces to eliminate pathogens relevant to orthopaedic implant-associated bacterial infections in an aerobic environment. However, there is much to learn regarding the interactions between hydrothermally etched titanium and fungal species, anaerobic dental pathogens and multi-species infections. Furthermore, it may be possible that the mechano-bactericidal effect could be harnessed to augment existing antibiotic treatments.

The research questions proposed herein are aimed at further elucidating these areas, such that a broader basis of knowledge can be built to facilitate the translation of these technologies into commercial outputs. Each section of the present thesis is based on publications that were submitted and accepted during candidature.

Keywords: Antibacterial, hydrothermally etched, titanium, implant, mechano-bactericidal, nanotechnology, nanostructures

Subject: Science, Technology and Enterprise thesis

Thesis type: Doctor of Philosophy
Completed: 2023
School: College of Medicine and Public Health
Supervisor: Prof. Krasimir Vasilev