Morphology and Mechanical Properties of Phytoglycogen Nanoparticles Revealed by Atomic Force Microscopy

Date and Time


MacN 434



Benjamin Baylis


Phytoglycogen is a naturally occurring glucose polymer that is produced in the form of highly-branched, compact nanoparticles by sweet corn. Phytoglycogen nanoparticles are a novel type of soft colloidal particle, and their deformability, unique hydration and safety makes them desirable for applications in personal care, nutrition and biomedicine. We have used atomic force microscopy (AFM) to measure the size, structure and mechanical properties of phytoglycogen nanoparticles. By measuring the particles in air and water, the effect of hydration is also investigated. We have successfully immobilized the phytoglycogen nanoparticles on the smooth terraces of annealed gold substrates by using a thiolated boronic acid-based self-assembled monolayer. To overcome the challenges of measuring these soft and deformable particles, we have used the Quantitative Imaging mode of our JPK AFM, which is an optimized mapping of many force-distance curves. This allows us to obtain detailed images of particle stiffness and sample height for different applied forces, while minimizing the lateral forces exerted on the delicate particles. I will describe the detailed information – particle height, volume and mechanical properties – that we have measured for the phytoglycogen nanoparticles.

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