Can orthopedic implants rip apart bacteria? Researchers test dragonfly tech for $20M

Australian researchers are undertaking a four-year, $20 million project to potentially minimize the risk of infection after orthopedic surgery.

Here are five insights:

1. Researchers will test nano-modification technology modeled after the dragonfly wing, which has tiny spikes that shred bacteria. The spikes are about one-thousandth of the thickness of a human hair.

2. Scientists will create titanium orthopedic implants to test whether mimicking the dragonfly wing's nano-patterns can kill infection-causing bacteria.

3. They will test the implants' safety and efficacy at killing bacteria at Adelaide, Australia University of Adelaide's Centre for Orthopaedic and Trauma Research and University of South Australia's Musculoskeletal Biotest Facility. Both universities are based in Adelaide, Australia.

4. Manufacturer Global Orthopaedic Technology is partnering with Australian researchers to commercialize the technology and fight the growing problem of antibiotic-resistant bacteria.

5. To fund the research, Global Orthopaedic Technology and the Innovative Manufacturing Cooperative Research Centre are each investing $3 million in cash. Global Orthopaedic Technology and both universities will provide the additional funding through in-kind contributions.

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