Bacteria can grow practically everywhere, from inside one’s body to the very corner of one’s room. While they do indeed replicate almost anywhere, scientists are finding better and better ways to keep them from infecting certain surfaces and areas. The newest form of this solution comes not just any kind of liquid, but rather slippery liquid. This slippery liquid is fully called the ‘slippery liquid–infused porous surfaces’ (SLIPS) is a genius idea that actually originates from nature itself. The article itself states that it was “inspired by the carnivorous Nepenthes pitcher plant that uses the slippery surface of its leaves to trap insects”.  This is because the slippery surface not only repels bacteria, but also a wide variety of other substances, in varying temperatures to varying light wavelengths of light. However, its main feature is to prevent the majority of bacteria from sticking to the plant. However, this type of fluid cannot simply be harvested and is instead currently being researched upon to make a synthetic version.

This slippery liquid is fully called the ‘slippery liquid–infused porous surfaces’ (SLIPS) is a genius idea that actually originates from nature itself. The article itself states that it was “inspired by the carnivorous Nepenthes pitcher plant that uses the slippery surface of its leaves to trap insects”.  This is because the slippery surface not only repels bacteria, but also a wide variety of other substances, in varying temperatures to varying light wavelengths of light. However, its main feature is to prevent the majority of bacteria from sticking to the plant. However, this type of fluid cannot simply be harvested and is instead currently being researched upon to make a synthetic version.

One might ask, what are the benefits of such a fluid? Why would it be important in surgeries? First off, cleanliness has always been important in a hospital setting, and antibacterial substances aren’t up to par with their bacteria counterparts. This interaction can be seen in the existence of nosocomial infections, infections that originate in the hospitals themselves. The fact that these malignant bacteria spread is proof that either the bacteria have advanced to the point where they have gained resistance to some of the antibacterial measures or the staff don’t enforce proper measures against bacteria, and the majority of the time, the latter tends to not be the problem. So, how would one stop bacteria from spreading, apart from killing it? Well, SLIPS has shown that the answer is to simply not let them touch those surfaces at all. By preventing bacteria from accessing the objects the majority of the staff interact with, the growth of bacteria is severely limited. While the idea behind slips is innovative, I believe that it could be taken further if more research is done. At this moment, coating an object in SLIPS will bring out its ability to prevent bacteria from sticking. However, this is the most basic usage of such a liquid; it’s like harvesting milk from a cow and then just drinking that milk. While this analogy may sound weird, hear me out. Milk is the most basic product that cows make, but by using milk in different ways, humans have been able to make yogurt, cheese, and other dairy-based products. By applying SLIPS to materials in different manners, I feel that antibacterial measures will be strengthened even further. For example, if further research was able to create a thin version of SLIPS, one could coat sterile products in it to prevent bacteria from attaching to it. As someone who has seen quite a few surgeries as a third-party, I have seen a few scenarios in which tools aren’t available due to them going through sterile processing, leaving surgeons to improvise in their operations. Coating the surgical materials with SLIPS would allow these tools to be available much more often due to the lack of bacteria adhering to them.

The research and invention of SLIPS affects me as a student going into the health field because it will directly impact the availability of tools as well as the spread of microorganisms in the hospital setting.  Furthermore, it will directly impact the health of the patients who reside in the hospital. I’m very interested in the SLIPS as of this point, and I am excited to see where its research will take it.

While the idea behind slips is innovative, I believe that it could be taken further if more research is done. At this moment, coating an object in SLIPS will bring out its ability to prevent bacteria from sticking. However, this is the most basic usage of such a liquid; it’s like harvesting milk from a cow and then just drinking that milk. While this analogy may sound weird, hear me out. Milk is the most basic product that cows make, but by using milk in different ways, humans have been able to make yogurt, cheese, and other dairy-based products. By applying SLIPS to materials in different manners, I feel that antibacterial measures will be strengthened even further. For example, if further research was able to create a thin version of SLIPS, one could coat sterile products in it to prevent bacteria from attaching to it. As someone who has seen quite a few surgeries as a third-party, I have seen a few scenarios in which tools aren’t available due to them going through sterile processing, leaving surgeons to improvise in their operations. Coating the surgical materials with SLIPS would allow these tools to be available much more often due to the lack of bacteria adhering to them.

The research and invention of SLIPS affects me as a student going into the health field because it will directly impact the availability of tools as well as the spread of microorganisms in the hospital setting.  Furthermore, it will directly impact the health of the patients who reside in the hospital. I’m very interested in the SLIPS as of this point, and I am excited to see where its research will take it.

http://www.bidmc.org/News/PRLandingPage/2016/November/Chaikof-SLIPS.aspx   “Bacteria Can’T Get A Grip On Self-Healing, Slippery Surface”. Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center. N. p., 1. Web. 4 Nov. 2016.

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