Dominguez-Trujillo, C.; Beltrán, A.M.; Garvi, M.D.; Salazar-Moya, A.; Hickey, D. J.; Rodríguez-Ortiz, J.A.; Kamm, P.H.; Lebrato, C.; Garcia-Moreno, F.; Webster, T. J.; Torres, Y.: Bacterial behavior on coated porous titanium substrates for biomedical applications. Surface & Coatings Technology 357 (2019), p. 896-902

In this work, bacterial behavior on dense and porous titanium substrates is discussed. Porous titanium was fabricated by a space holder technique (using 50 vol%, NH4HCO3 with particle sizes between 250 and 355 μm). These substrates were coated by sulfonated PEEK (termed SPEEK). Characterization of the porous substrate was carried out using the Archimedes Method, Image Analysis, and three-dimensional X-ray Micro-Computed Tomography (including total and interconnected porosity, equivalent diameter, and pore shape factor), as well as mechanical characterization (specifically stiffness and yield strength). A detailed study was performed here to investigate the influence of substrate porosity on the adhesion and proliferation of E. coli, MRSA, and P. aeruginosa (common causes of orthopedic device-associated infections). Bacterial colonization was examined in terms of the initial bacterial concentration, as well as bacterial adherence to and growth on the surface and inside the pores. Results suggest that fully dense titanium supported the least bacterial colonization, while the porous titanium promoted bacterial growth in the medium and inside the cavities. Furthermore, the SPEEK coating deposited onto the samples inhibited bacteria growth inside the porous materials. In this manner, this study showed for the first time that SPEEK could have potential antibacterial properties to offset the increase in bacteria growth commonly observed in porous materials.