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Real-Time Quantification of Microscale Bioadhesion Events In situ Using Imaging Surface Plasmon Resonance (iSPR)

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Nicholas Aldred, Professor Tony Clare


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From macro- to nano-scales, adhesion phenomena are all-pervasive in nature yet remain poorly understood. In recent years, studies of biological adhesion mechanisms, terrestrial and marine, have provided inspiration for 'biomimetic' adhesion strategies and important insights for the development of fouling-resistant materials. Although the focus of most contemporary bioadhesion research is on large organisms such as marine mussels, insects and geckos, adhesion events on the micro/nano-scale are critical to our understanding of important underlying mechanisms. Observing and quantifying adhesion at this scale is particularly relevant for the development of biomedical implants and in the prevention of marine biofouling. However, such characterisation has so far been restricted by insufficient quantities of material for biochemical analysis and the limitations of contemporary imaging techniques. Here, we introduce a recently developed optical method that allows precise determination of adhesive deposition by micro-scale organisms in situ and in real time; a capability not before demonstrated. In this extended study we used the cypris larvae of barnacles and a combination of conventional and imaging surface plasmon resonance techniques to observe and quantify adhesive deposition onto a range of model surfaces (CH<sub>3</sub>-, COOH-, NH<sub>3</sub>- and mPEG-terminated SAMs and a PEGMA/HEMA hydrogel). We then correlated this deposition to passive adsorption of a putatively adhesive protein from barnacles. In this way, we were able to rank surfaces in order of effectiveness for preventing barnacle cyprid exploration and demonstrate the importance of observing the natural process of adhesion, rather than predicting surface effects from a model system. As well as contributing fundamentally to the knowledge on the adhesion and adhesives of barnacle larvae, a potential target for future biomimetic glues, this method also provides a versatile technique for laboratory testing of fouling-resistant chemistries.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Aldred N, Ekblad T, Andersson O, Liedberg B, Clare AS

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Applied Materials and Interfaces

Year: 2011

Volume: 3

Issue: 6

Pages: 2085-2091

Print publication date: 19/05/2011

ISSN (print): 1944-8244

ISSN (electronic): 1944-8252

Publisher: American Chemical Society


DOI: 10.1021/am2003075


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Funder referenceFunder name
European Commission
Swedish Research Council (VR)
N-00014-08-11240U.S. Office of Naval Research