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J R Soc Interface. 2011 Mar 6;8(56):410-22. doi: 10.1098/rsif.2010.0316. Epub 2010 Aug 4.

In situ ATR-IR spectroscopic and electron microscopic analyses of settlement secretions of Undaria pinnatifida kelp spores.

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Department of Chemistry, University of Otago, PO Box 56, Dunedin, New Zealand.


Knowledge about the settlement of marine organisms on substrates is important for the development of environmentally benign new methods for control of marine biofouling. The adhesion to substrates by spores of Undaria pinnatifida, a kelp species that is invasive to several countries, was studied by scanning electron and transmission electron microscopies (SEM/TEM) as well as by in situ attenuated total reflection infrared (ATR-IR) spectroscopy. The IR spectra showed that adhesive secretion began approximately 15 min after initial settlement and that the adhesive bulk material contained protein and anionic polysaccharides. Energy dispersive X-ray microanalysis of the adhesive identified sulphur and phosphorus as well as calcium and magnesium ions, which facilitate the gelation of the anionic polysaccharides in the sea water. The adhesive may be secreted from Golgi bodies in the spore, which were imaged by TEM of spore thin sections. Additionally, an in situ settlement study on TiO(2) particle film by ATR-IR spectroscopy revealed the presence of phosphorylated moieties directly binding the substrate. The presence of anionic groups dominating the adhesive suggests that inhibition of spore adhesion will be favoured by negatively charged surfaces.

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