The goal of this study is to explore how swimming animals produce the wide range of performance that is seen across their natural behaviors. In vivo recordings of plantaris longus muscle length change were obtained by sonomicrometry. Simultaneous with muscle length data, force measurements were obtained using a novel tendon buckle force transducer placed on the Achilles tendon of Xenopus laevis frogs during brief accelerating bursts of swimming. In vivo work loops revealed that the plantaris generates a variable amount of positive muscle work over a range of swimming cycle durations (from 0.23 to 0.76 s), resulting in a large range of cycle power output (from 2.32 to 74.17 W kg(-1) muscle). Cycle duration correlated negatively with cycle power, and cycle work correlated positively (varying as a function of peak cycle stress and, to a much lesser extent, fascicle strain amplitude). However, variation in cycle duration only contributed to 12% of variation in power, with cycle work accounting for the remaining 88%. Peak cycle stress and strain amplitude were also highly variable, yet peak stress was a much stronger predictor of cycle work than strain amplitude. Additionally, EMG intensity correlated positively with peak muscle stress (r(2)=0.53). Although the timing of muscle recruitment (EMG phase and EMG duty cycle) varied considerably within and among frogs, neither parameter correlated strongly with cycle power, cycle work, peak cycle stress or strain amplitude. These results suggest that relatively few parameters (cycle duration, peak cycle stress and strain amplitude) vary to permit a wide range of muscle power output, which allows anurans to swim over a large range of velocities and accelerations.
The gaseous environment surrounding parenchyma in woody tissue is low in O2 and high in CO2, but it is not known to what extent this affects respiration or might play a role in cell death during heartwood formation. Sapwood respiration was measured in two conifers and three angiosperms following equilibration to levels of O2 and CO2 common within stems, using both inner and outer sapwood to test for an effect of age. Across all species and tissue ages, lowering the O2 level from 10% to 5% (v/v) resulted in about a 25% decrease in respiration in the absence of CO2, but a non-significant decrease at 10% CO2. The inhibitory effect of 10% CO2 was smaller and only significant at 10% O2, where it reduced respiration by about 14%. Equilibration to a wider range of gas combinations in Pinus strobus L. showed the same effect: 10% CO2 inhibited respiration by about 15% at both 20% and 10% O2, but had no net effect at 5% O2. In an extreme treatment, 1% O2+20% CO2 increased respiration by over 30% relative to 1% O2 alone, suggesting a shift in metabolic response to high CO2 as O2 decreases. Although an increase in respiration would be detrimental under limiting O2, this extreme gas combination is unlikely to exist within most stems. Instead, moderate reductions in respiration under realistic O2 and CO2 levels suggest that within-stem gas composition does not severely limit respiration and is unlikely to cause the death of xylem parenchyma during heartwood formation.
Tapping-mode atomic force microscopy (AFM), in which the vibrating tip periodically approaches, interacts and retracts from the sample surface, is the most common AFM imaging method. The tip experiences attractive and repulsive forces that depend on the chemical and mechanical properties of the sample, yet conventional AFM tips are limited in their ability to resolve these time-varying forces. We have created a specially designed cantilever tip that allows these interaction forces to be measured with good (sub-microsecond) temporal resolution and material properties to be determined and mapped in detail with nanoscale spatial resolution. Mechanical measurements based on these force waveforms are provided at a rate of 4 kHz. The forces and contact areas encountered in these measurements are orders of magnitude smaller than conventional indentation and AFM-based indentation techniques that typically provide data rates around 1 Hz. We use this tool to quantify and map nanomechanical changes in a binary polymer blend in the vicinity of its glass transition.
Torsional harmonic cantilevers allow measurement of time-varying tip-sample forces in tapping-mode atomic force microscopy. Accuracy of these force measurements is important for quantitative nanomechanical measurements. Here we demonstrate a method to convert the torsional deflection signals into a calibrated force wave form with the use of nonlinear dynamical response of the tapping cantilever. Specifically the transitions between steady oscillation regimes are used to calibrate the torsional deflection signals.
Microscope images of fluctuating biopolymers contain a wealth of information about their underlying mechanics and dynamics. However, successful extraction of this information requires precise localization of filament position and shape from thousands of noisy images. Here, we present careful measurements of the bending dynamics of filamentous (F-)actin and microtubules at thermal equilibrium with high spatial and temporal resolution using a new, simple but robust, automated image analysis algorithm with subpixel accuracy. We find that slender actin filaments have a persistence length of approximately 17 microm, and display a q(-4)-dependent relaxation spectrum, as expected from viscous drag. Microtubules have a persistence length of several millimeters; interestingly, there is a small correlation between total microtubule length and rigidity, with shorter filaments appearing softer. However, we show that this correlation can arise, in principle, from intrinsic measurement noise that must be carefully considered. The dynamic behavior of the bending of microtubules also appears more complex than that of F-actin, reflecting their higher-order structure. These results emphasize both the power and limitations of light microscopy techniques for studying the mechanics and dynamics of biopolymers.
Theory is developed for frequency shift and linewidth-broadening induced by rodlike bacteria bound to micro-optical resonators. Optical shift of whispering gallery modes (WGMs) is modeled by introducing a form factor that accounts for random horizontal orientation of cylindrical bacteria bound by their high refractive index cell walls. Linewidth-broadening is estimated from scattering losses. Analytic results are confirmed by measurement using E.Coli as model system (~10(2) bacteria/mm(2) sensitivity), establishing the WGM biosensor as sensitive technique for detection and analysis of micro-organisms.
We demonstrate an integrated microfluidic flow sensor with ultra-wide dynamic range, suitable for high throughput applications such as flow cytometry and particle sorting/counting. A fiber-tip cantilever transduces flow rates to optical signal readout, and we demonstrate a dynamic range from 0 to 1500 microL min(-1) for operation in water. Fiber-optic sensor alignment is guided by preformed microfluidic channels, and the dynamic range can be adjusted in a one-step chemical etch. An overall non-linear response is attributed to the far-field angular distribution of single-mode fiber output.
Photoinduced molecular transformations in a self-assembled bacteriorhodopsin (bR) monolayer are monitored by observing shifts in the near-infrared resonant wavelengths of linearly polarized modes circulating in a microsphere cavity. We quantify the molecular polarizability change upon all-trans to 13-cis isomerization and deprotonation of the chromophore retinal ( approximately -57 A(3)) and determine its orientation relative to the bR membrane ( approximately 61 degrees ). Our observations establish optical microcavities as a sensitive off-resonant spectroscopic tool for probing conformations and orientations of molecular self-assemblies and for measuring changes of molecular polarizability at optical frequencies. We provide a general estimate of the sensitivity of the technique and discuss possible applications.
In an optically active liquid the diffraction angle depends on the circular polarization state of the incident light beam. We report the observation of circular differential diffraction in an isotropic chiral medium, and we demonstrate that double diffraction is an alternate means to determine the handedness (enantiomeric excess) of a solution.
We report photoconductivity (PC) in individual germanium nanowire field effect transistors (GeFETs). PC measurements with a global illumination reveal that GeFETs can be used as a polarization-sensitive nanoscale light detector in the visible range. It is also found that the PC shows sensitive optical response especially in the low intensity regime. We observe a high internal gain in PC in conjunction with strong saturation behavior, which is attributed to the filling of surface trapping states. This mechanism for high internal gain is consistent with spatially resolved scanning photocurrent measurements, whose results confirm that optical absorption is in the linear regime.
We study the liquid-crystalline phase behavior of a concentrated suspension of helical flagella isolated from Salmonella typhimurium. Flagella are prepared with different polymorphic states, some of which have a pronounced helical character while others assume a rodlike shape. We show that the static phase behavior and dynamics of chiral helices are very different when compared to simpler achiral hard rods. With increasing concentration, helical flagella undergo an entropy-driven first order phase transition to a liquid-crystalline state having a novel chiral symmetry.
We investigated geographic patterns of herbivory and resource allocation to defense, growth, and reproduction in an invasive biennial, Alliaria petiolata, to test the hypothesis that escape from herbivory in invasive species permits enhanced growth and lower production of defensive chemicals. We quantified herbivore damage, concentrations of sinigrin, and growth and reproduction inside and outside herbivore exclusion treatments, in field populations in the native and invasive ranges. As predicted, unmanipulated plants in the native range (Hungary, Europe) experienced greater herbivore damage than plants in the introduced range (Massachusetts and Connecticut, USA), providing evidence for enemy release, particularly in the first year of growth. Nevertheless, European populations had consistently larger individuals than US populations (rosettes were, for example, eightfold larger) and also had greater reproductive output, but US plants produced larger seeds at a given plant height. Moreover, flowering plants showed significant differences in concentrations of sinigrin in the invasive versus native range, although the direction of the difference was variable, suggesting the influence of environmental effects. Overall, we observed less herbivory, but not increased growth or decreased defense in the invasive range. Geographical differences in performance and leaf chemistry appear to be due to variation in the environment, which could have masked evolved differences in allocation.