Mussel (Mytilus edulis) byssus deposition in response to variations in surface wettability
Mussels (Mytilus edulis) are economically important in their role as an aquaculture species and also with regard to marine biofouling. They attach tenaciously to a wide variety of submerged surfaces by virtue of collagenous attachment threads termed 'byssi'. The aim of this study was to characterize the spreading of the byssal attachment plaque, which mediates attachment to the surface, on a range of surfaces in response to changes in wettability. To achieve this, well characterized self-assembled monolayers of ω-terminated alkanethiolates on gold were used, allowing correlation of byssal plaque spreading with a single surface characteristic - wettability. The present results were inconsistent with those from previous studies, in that there was a positive correlation between plaque size and surface wettability; a trend which is not explained by conventional wetting theory for a three-phase system. A recent extension to wetting theory with regard to hydrophilic proteins is discussed and the results of settlement assays are used to attempt reconciliation of these results with those of similar previous studies and, also, with recent data presented for the spreading of Ulva linza spore adhesive. © 2005 The Royal Society.
Aldred, N; Ista, LK; Callow, ME; Callow, JA; Lopez, GP; Clare, AS
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