Morphological and Surface Potential Characterization of Protein Nanobiofilm Formation on Magnesium Alloy Oxide: Their Role in Biodegradation

Ehsan Rahimi*, Amin Imani*, Maria Lekka, Francesco Andreatta, Yaiza Gonzalez-Garcia, Johannes M.C. Mol, Edouard Asselin, Lorenzo Fedrizzi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)
48 Downloads (Pure)


The formation of a protein nanobiofilm on the surface of degradable biomaterials such as magnesium (Mg) and its alloys influences metal ion release, cell adhesion/spreading, and biocompatibility. During the early stage of human body implantation, competition and interaction between inorganic species and protein molecules result in a complex film containing Mg oxide and a protein layer. This film affects the electrochemical properties of the metal surface, the protein conformational arrangement, and the electronic properties of the protein/Mg oxide interface. In this study, we discuss the impact of various simulated body fluids, including sodium chloride (NaCl), phosphate-buffered saline (PBS), and Hanks' solutions on protein adsorption, electrochemical interactions, and electrical surface potential (ESP) distribution at the adsorbed protein/Mg oxide interface. After 10 min of immersion in NaCl, atomic force microscopy (AFM) and scanning Kelvin probe force microscopy (SKPFM) showed a higher surface roughness related to enhanced degradation and lower ESP distribution on a Mg-based alloy than those in other solutions. Furthermore, adding bovine serum albumin (BSA) to all solutions caused a decline in the total surface roughness and ESP magnitude on the Mg alloy surface, particularly in the NaCl electrolyte. Using SKPFM surface analysis, we detected a protein nanobiofilm (∼10-20 nm) with an aggregated and/or fibrillary morphology only on the Mg surface exposed in Hanks' and PBS solutions; these surfaces had a lower ESP value than the oxide layer.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10854-10866
JournalLangmuir : the ACS journal of surfaces and colloids
Issue number35
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • adsorption
  • alloys
  • electrochemistry
  • oxides
  • surface potential


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