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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Strength of mid-logarithmic and stationary phase Saccharopolyspora erythraea hyphae during a batch fermentation in defined nitrate-limited medium.

A method for measuring mechanical properties of Saccharopolyspora erythraea is reported with data from a batch fermentation. Briefly, hyphae were glued to the end of a tungsten filament mounted horizontally on a sensitive force transducer. Free ends of hyphae were trapped against a flat surface by a second probe. The force transducer and tungsten filament were then moved at a fixed rate, the hypha were strained, and the force resisting motion recorded. From these data the maximum force resisting motion is taken as the force at which breakage occurs. Hyphae from the mid-logarithmic phase of a simple batch fermentation on defined medium were found to have a breaking force of 890 +/- 160 nN (95% confidence), while stationary phase hyphae were weaker at 580 +/- 150 nN. Video recordings of the experiments allowed an approximation of breaking strain, which did not differ significantly between samples at 0.18 +/- 0.03. Electron microscopy was used to measure cell wall thickness, cell diameter, and hence cell wall cross-sectional area. The ultimate tensile strength was estimated to be 24 +/- 3 MPa with no difference between the two samples, the lower breaking force of the stationary phase hyphae being attributed to a thinner cell wall. Assuming a linear relationship between stress and strain, the elastic modulus was estimated to be 140 +/- 30 MPa. These values are comparable with other structural biological materials such as yeast cell walls and collagen.[1]


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