About the event
Speaker: Dr. Daniel Barlow, Research Chemist, Chemistry Division, Naval Research Laboratory, Washington DC
Title: Biological – materials interactions in built environments: Insights to polyurethane biodeterioration by fungal isolates from aircraft
Abstract: Interactions at biotic and abiotic interfaces are pervasive in biology, occurring in terrestrial and aquatic environments at multiple length scales. Understanding and controlling these interactions with relation to built environments is important in many aspects for systems operations and materials protection, maintenance, and responsible remediation. Polyurethanes are extensively used as protective topcoats for military and civilian uses, including aerospace applications, and are among materials prone to microbiological fouling and deterioration. Microorganisms that colonize environmental surfaces, often comprising or initiating as sparse microcolonies, can degrade recalcitrant natural and xenobiotic polymers through a variety of extracellular enzymes. Here, results will be presented leveraging microbiome studies of aircraft for spatially and temporally resolved analysis of fungal interactions and degradation at polyester polyurethane coating surfaces. Holistic biodeterioration mechanisms are elucidated involving the interplay between entities such as coating composition, depolymerization processes, microorganism physiology, and environmental conditions. The multidisciplinary approaches are envisioned to improve predictability, detection, control, and utilization involving microbial-materials interactions in built environments.