back to article Boffins brew eyes on bugs' wings

Scientists at an Australian university have grown eye cells on Cicadas' wings, after noticing that the nano-structures on that part of the insects' bodies have anti-bacterial properties. The James Cook University researchers chose retinal cells as their test case because, as they said to AAP, these cells “won't grow just …


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  1. Martin Budden


    If someone makes an artificial "antibacterial" surface for use in hospitals with the intention of thwarting superbugs, any superbugs of unusually large size will naturally be selected resulting in new strains of HUGE MUTANT SUPERBUGS!!!

    1. Blofeld's Cat


      "superbugs of unusually large size"

      These are no problem to deal with - you just lure them outside and attack them with artillery.

      1. Martin Budden


        As you wish (although I was thinking more along the lines of burning them in the fire-swamp).

  2. Grikath

    "While it only works on bacteria with the right level of membrane rigidity, it's the first time a surface has been found that can destroy bacteria solely through its physical structure. "

    It also doesn't work on molds and other stuff...

    Look.. Cicadas make their typical noise with their wings. To do that those wings must be *DRY*. They have evolved a surface that does exactly that..

    Bacteria do not grow if there is no (free) water around. Humans have figured this out, and have been using salt as dessiccant since the early stone age. ( again, molds yes, bacteria no, which explains the large amount of regional variety in sausages.)

    Put A + B together.... Nanotubes suck moisture, with great efficiency. El Reg has had a couple of articles about that. nanotubes on a bugs' wing? Land on that as a bacterium, and you literally get sucked the life right out of you. ( plus another host of reasons , but all they amount to is : no free water = no growth)

    Of course this is overly simplified, but I for one do not have an "atomic microscope" in my budget. Just a decades old degree in biology. But hey... it's got "nano" in the title, so it must be actual science...

    Yes, I'm a grumpy b'tard. Downvote at will.

    1. jackharbringer


      You got a downvote from me not because of your explanation, which may have it's valid points, but because the article actually mentions and describes the method by which the surface kills bacteria of a certain size and type. A method which has no resemblance to your theory and sounds really cool.

    2. cs94njw
      Thumb Up

      But then considering the amount of alcohol hand gel deployed in hospitals, work places, etc, they're not going to have a problem.

    3. sisk

      Even if it only works on bacteria this could be incredibly useful if the concept is used to create artificial materials for hospitals and such. Most of the superbugs floating around, like super staph, are bacteria.

  3. southpacificpom

    Breaking News...

    Scientists announce they can make the Sun shine out of CEO's arseholes.

    1. Richard Jones 1

      Re: Breaking News...

      Update, the CEO's do the sunshine bit for themselves!

      1. sisk

        Re: Breaking News...

        Now what are they going to do when someone tells them to stick it where the sun don't shine? Get some of the R&D people on that quick. You probably don't have much time before one of them will need an answer.

  4. Mage

    I'm confused though

    Why did they then decide to grow retinal cells on the wings? What has that to do with Bacteria?

    1. JaimieV

      Re: I'm confused though

      It's to show that the wings really are as 'clean' as they appear to be, because retinal cells will only survive in a really clean environment. Which is why puncturing an eye even a tiny bit so often leads to blindness with minimal contamination.

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    That sounds awesome

    Break out the ATOMIC FORCE MICROSCOPE. It should have been a line in a 1950's b movie

    1. ravenviz Silver badge

      Re: That sounds awesome

      Nah, they should have used a turbo encapulator.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    I'd buy a chopping-board with a surface like that.

  7. Ilsa Loving

    There's an app for that

    If we can figure out how to make super large bacteria, the obvious application for such a creature is as security for secret islands where the residents have numbers for names.

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