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An in situ study of the nanomechanical properties of barnacle (Balanus amphitrite) cyprid cement using atomic force microscopy (AFM)

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


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Cyprids are the final planktonic stage in the larval dispersal of barnacles and are responsible for surface exploration and attachment to appropriate substrata. The nanomechanical properties of barnacle (Balanus amphitrite) cyprid permanent cement were studied in situ using atomic force microscopy (AFM). Force curves were recorded from the cement disc continually over the course of its curing and these were subsequently analysed using custom software. Results showed a narrowing of the pull-off force distribution with time, as well as a reduction in molecular stretch length over time. In addition, there was a strong correlation between maximum pull-off force and molecular stretch length for the cement, suggesting 'curing' of the adhesive; some force curves also contained a 'fingerprint' of modular protein unfolding. This study provides the first direct experimental evidence in support of a putative 'tanning' mechanism in barnacle cyprid cement.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Phang IY, Aldred N, Clare AS, Callow JA, Vancso GJ

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Biofouling

Year: 2006

Volume: 22

Issue: 4

Pages: 245-250

ISSN (print): 0892-7014

ISSN (electronic): 1026-7867

Publisher: Taylor & Francis Ltd.


DOI: 10.1080/08927010600857686


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