Mass transfer enhancement in moving biofilm structures.
ABSTRACT Biofilms are layers of microbial cells growing on an interface and they can form highly complex structures adapted to a wide variety of environmental conditions. Biofilm streamers have a small immobile base attached to the support and a flexible tail elongated in the flow direction, which can vibrate in fast flows. Herein we report numerical results for the role of the periodical movement of biofilm streamers on the nutrient uptake and in general on the solute mass transfer enhancement due to flow-induced oscillations. We developed what to our knowledge is a novel two-dimensional fluid-structure interaction model coupled to unsteady solute mass transport and solved the model using the finite element method with a moving mesh. Results demonstrate that the oscillatory movement of the biofilm tail significantly increases the substrate uptake. The mass transfer coefficient is the highest in regions close to the streamer tip. The reason for substrate transfer enhancement is the increase in speed of tip movement relative to the surrounding liquid, thereby reducing the thickness of the mass transfer boundary layer. In addition, we show that the relative mass transfer enhancement in unsteady conditions compared with the rigid static structure is larger at higher flow velocities, and this relative increase favors a more flexible structure.
[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Marine biofouling is the accumulation of biological material on underwater surfaces, which has plagued both commercial and naval fleets. Biomimetic approaches may well provide new insights into designing and developing alternative, non-toxic, surface-active antifouling (AF) technologies. In the marine environment, all submerged surfaces are affected by the attachment of fouling organisms, such as bacteria, diatoms, algae and invertebrates, causing increased hydrodynamic drag, resulting in increased fuel consumption, and decreased speed and operational range. There are also additional expenses of dry-docking, together with increased fuel costs and corrosion, which are all important economic factors that demand the prevention of biofouling. Past solutions to AF have generally used toxic paints or coatings that have had a detrimental effect on marine life worldwide. The prohibited use of these antifoulants has led to the search for biologically inspired AF strategies. This review will explore the natural and biomimetic AF surface strategies for marine systems.Philosophical Transactions of The Royal Society A Mathematical Physical and Engineering Sciences 10/2010; 368(1929):4729-54. · 2.77 Impact Factor
Article: Rac is required for constitutive macropinocytosis by dendritic cells but does not control its downregulation.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Dendritic cells use constitutive macropinocytosis to capture exogenous antigens for presentation on MHC molecules. Upon exposure to inflammatory stimuli or bacterial products such as lipopolysaccharide (LPS), macropinocytosis is dramatically downregulated as part of a developmental programme leading to dendritic cell maturation, migration and activation of T cells. It is not known, however, how macropinocytosis is sustained in dendritic cells in the absence of exogenous stimuli, nor how it is downregulated upon maturation. We have tested the possibility that one or more members of the Rho family of GTPases are involved in and control pinocytosis in dendritic cells. We established dendritic cell populations that show constitutive macropinocytosis that was downregulated by LPS treatment. Microinjection of immature cells with dominant-negative Rac (N17Rac1) or treatment with Clostridium difficile toxin B, the phosphoinositide 3-kinase (PI3-K) inhibitor wortmannin, or LPS all inhibited the formation of macropinosomes but, surprisingly, did not eliminate membrane ruffling. Microinjection of N17Cdc42 or the Rho inhibitor C3 transferase eliminated actin plaques/podosomes and actin cables, respectively, but had little effect on the formation of macropinosomes. Surprisingly, dendritic cells matured with LPS had equivalent or even somewhat higher levels of active Rac than immature cells. Moreover, microinjection of a constitutively active form of Rac (V12Rac1) into mature dendritic cells did not reactivate macropinocytosis. Rac has an important role in the constitutive formation of macropinosomes in dendritic cells but may be required downstream of membrane ruffling. Furthermore, regulation of Rac activity does not appear to be the control point in the physiological downregulation of dendritic cell pinocytosis. Instead, one or more downstream effectors may be modulated to allow Rac to continue to regulate other cellular functions.Current Biology 08/2000; 10(14):839-48. · 9.65 Impact Factor