Nanosecond pulsed laser texturing has been performed on stainless steel with the objective of developing surface treatments to reduce bacterial adhesion on mechanical components in food handling machinery. The adhesion of Escherichia coli (E. coli) on four distinct textures has been investigated with standardised protocols for measurement of antibacterial performance. Surface morphology has been studied in detail for each texture to ascertain the presence of hierarchical structures and determine the role of topography in reducing bacterial adhesion. Despite the absence of sub-micrometric features comparable with bacterial size, this work highlights the crucial role that nanosecond pulsed laser irradiation plays in promoting a thin layer of iron oxide that reduces E. coli adhesion through local repulsive electrostatic interactions.
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