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Eur Phys J E Soft Matter. 2008 May-Jun;26(1-2):137-42. doi: 10.1140/epje/i2007-10259-3. Epub 2008 Mar 3.

Bacterium organizes hierarchical amorphous structure in microbial cellulose.

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Advanced Science Research Center, Japan Atomic Energy Agency, Ibaraki, Tokai, Japan.


A pellicle, a gel film of microbial cellulose, is a supermolecular system containing 99% of water by weight, which is closely related to an amorphous structure in it. Using ultra-small-angle neutron scattering, in order to cover over a wide range of length scales from nm to 10 microm, we examined the hierarchical amorphous structure in the microbial cellulose, which is synthesized by a bacterium (Acetobacter xylinum). The microbial cellulose swollen by water shows small-angle scattering that obeys a power law q -behavior according to q -alpha as a function of the magnitude of the scattering vector q . The power law, determined by scattering, is attributed to a mass fractal due to the distribution of the center of mass for the crystallite (microfibril) in amorphous cellulose swollen by water. As q increases, alpha takes the values of 2.5, 1, and 2.35, corresponding, respectively, to a gel network composed of bundles, a bundle composed of cellulose ribbons, and concentration fluctuations in a bundle. From the mass fractal q -behavior and its length scale limits, we evaluated a volume fraction of crystallite in microbial cellulose. It was found that 90% of the cellulose bundle is occupied by amorphous cellulose containing water.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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