Bacterial antibiotic resistance is becoming more widespread due to excessive use of antibiotics in healthcare and agriculture. At the same time the development of new antibiotics has effectively ground to a hold. Chemical modifications of material surfaces have poor long-term performance in preventing bacterial build-up and hence approaches for realising bactericidal action through physical surface topography have become increasingly important in recent years. The complex nature of the bacteria cell wall interactions with nanostructured surfaces represents many challenges while the design of nanostructured bactericidal surfaces is considered. Here we present a brief overview of the bactericidal behaviour of naturally occurring and bio-inspired nanostructured surfaces against different bacteria through the physico-mechanical rupture of the cell wall. Many parameters affect this process including the size, shape, density, rigidity/flexibility and surface chemistry of the surface nanotextures as well as factors such as bacteria specificity (e.g. gram positive and gram negative) and motility.

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