Sharks, unlike other marine animals, move relatively slowly but stay free from bacteria. Using research from the University of Florida as to why this happens, the company Sharklet Technologies developed a uniquely patterned film that resists organism growth.
"It is the shape of their skin. More specifically, it is a shape, a pattern, formed by how their denticles (like scales) come together," Sharklet Technologies CEO Joe Bagan told Discovery News in 2008. "It is very specific, not found anywhere else, and we believe has evolved for the specific purpose of keeping the animal clean."
The features in Sharklet's film are only about 3 microns tall, but Bagan called it "Mount Everest" for an organism.
"The real interesting bit is that sharks do this with the surface texture -- no chemicals," McGee says. "This non-lethal resistance strategy is great for hospitals because it means that it is less likely that bacteria will build up resistance."