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Insights into the Morphology and Surface Properties of Microalgae at the Nanoscale by Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM): A Review

Mišić Radić, Tea; Vukosav, Petra; Čačković, Andrea; Dulebo, Alexander (2023) Insights into the Morphology and Surface Properties of Microalgae at the Nanoscale by Atomic Force Microscopy (AFM): A Review. Water, 15 . ISSN 2073-4441

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Atomic force microscopy (AFM) is a method that provides the nanometer-resolution three-dimensional imaging of living cells in their native state in their natural physiological environment. In addition, AFM’s sensitivity to measure interaction forces in the piconewton range enables researchers to probe surface properties, such as elasticity, viscoelasticity, hydrophobicity and adhesion. Despite the growing number of applications of AFM as a method to study biological systems, AFM is not yet an established technique for studying microalgae. Following a brief introduction to the basic principles and operation modes of AFM, this review highlights the major contributions of AFM in the field of microalgae research. A pioneering AFM study on microalgae was performed on diatoms, revealing the fine structural details of diatom frustule, without the need for sample modification. While, to date, diatoms are the most studied class of microalgae using AFM, it has also been used to study microalgae belonging to other classes. Besides using AFM for the morphological characterization of microalgae at the single cell level, AFM has also been used to study the surface properties of microalgal cells, with cell elasticity being most frequently studied one. Here, we also present our preliminary results on the viscoelastic properties of microalgae cell (Dunaliella tertiolecta), as the first microrheological study of microalgae. Overall, the studies presented show that AFM, with its multiparametric characterization, alone or in combination with other complementary techniques, can address many outstanding questions in the field of microalgae.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: adhesion ; atomic force microscopy ; diatoms ; elasticity ; hydrophobicity ; microalgae ; nanomechanics ; surface properties ; topography ; viscoelasticity
Subjects: NATURAL SCIENCES > Biology
Divisions: Division for Marine and Enviromental Research
Division of Materials Chemistry
Depositing User: Petra Vukosav
Date Deposited: 06 Jul 2023 11:29
DOI: 10.3390/w15111983

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