Cicada and dragonfly wings are known to have a surface layer that kills bacteria by tearing them apart and then removing the dead bacteria.  Getting rid of dead bacteria is an important property as it prevents other bacteria from colonising the surface and feeding on the debris of the shredded bacteria.  It was thought that the dead bacteria were removed by the movement of the insect wings but it seems the surface layer removes the dead bacteria by itself.

The surface of cicada wings is covered in microscopic pillars. To understand how the kill-and-clean wing surfaces work a group of scientists designed and made a surface covered with tiny pillars similar to the cicada wings and tested it with bacteria.  It was effective at killing and removing the bacteria.

They then worked with another group of scientists who carried out a type of computer simulation named high-resolution molecular dynamics using a supercomputer.  This enabled the scientists to test different sizes and spacings of the surface pillars.  The simulations enabled the scientists to work out how a surface with pillars disrupted the bacterial cells walls and detached them from the surface.

These findings could be put to good use in the design of medical devices such as catheters and implants, which need to be kept free of bacteria.  Daniel Salatto, who led the study, explained: “It’s known that sometimes when bacteria cells die and they absorb onto surfaces, their debris will stay on the surface and therefore make it a better environment for their brethren to come in and absorb on top of them. That’s where you see a lot of biomedical materials fail, because there’s nothing that addresses debris that works well without using chemicals that more or less could be toxic to the surrounding environments.”

References: PhysOrg 18 July 2023; Science Alert 1 August 2023 and ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces, published online 4 January 2023 doi: 10.1021/acsami.2c18121

Editorial Comment: Let’s face it! If it took two teams of intelligent creative scientists with a supercomputer to design and build a copy of something that supposedly made itself by chance random accidents occurring in the genes that control the formation of cicada and dragonfly wings, evolution is a blind fool’s paradise.

If this research does eventually enable scientists to design surfaces for biomedical devices that work the same way as cicada wings, it will be a triumph of biomimetics (the science of copying “natural” structures and functions in engineering) and save many lives, we should be grateful to these scientists for their work.  However, we should be even more grateful to the Creator who made the original bacterial disposing cicada and dragonfly wings simply by speaking them into existence using the atoms and molecules He had already created.

Creation Research News 10 August 2023

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