Mai 2022

  • Superhydrophobic Cyanobacteria with Lotus Effect and the Evolution of Land Plants

It took us four decades since our lotus effect discovery to notice finally in 2016, that the phenomenon superhydrophobicity is restricted in nature exclusively to living organisms and probably evolved with the first land living plants in the Early Ordovician about 400 mya. 

Now we have robust data for Cyanobacteria in terrestrial biofilms (e.g. Hassallia) which can switch from a hydrophilic to a stable superhydrophobic state and thus evidence that superhydrophobicity evolved already about one billion years ago. Hassalia also uses the lotus effect for dispersal of its diaspores.

We suppose superhydrophobicity played a crucial evolutionary role in the land transition of almost all organisms. Today it became most important in many differing biomimetic technical applications.

Barthlott, W., Büdel, B., Mail, M., Neumann, K.M., Bartels D. & E. Fischer: Superhydrophobic terrestrial Cyanobacteria and land plant transition – Front. Plant. Sci, 24 May 2022

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