Oil adsorption ability of three-dimensional epicuticular wax coverages in plants

Gorb, Elena V., Hofmann, Philipp, Filippov, Alexander E. and Gorb, Stanislav (2017) Oil adsorption ability of three-dimensional epicuticular wax coverages in plants Scientific Reports, 7 . p. 45483. DOI 10.1038/srep45483.

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Abstract

Primary aerial surfaces of terrestrial plants are very often covered with three-dimensional epicuticular waxes. Such wax coverages play an important role in insect-plant interactions. Wax blooms have been experimentally shown in numerous previous studies to be impeding locomotion and reducing attachment of insects. Among the mechanisms responsible for these effects, a possible adsorption of insect adhesive fluid by highly porous wax coverage has been proposed (adsorption hypothesis). Recently, a great decrease in insect attachment force on artificial adsorbing materials was revealed in a few studies. However, adsorption ability of plant wax blooms was still not tested. Using a cryo scanning electron microscopy approach and high-speed video recordings of fluid drops behavior, followed by numerical analysis of experimental data, we show here that the three-dimensional epicuticular wax coverage in the waxy zone of Nepenthes alata pitcher adsorbs oil: we detected changes in the base, height, and volume of the oil drops. The wax layer thickness, differing in samples with untreated two-layered wax coverage and treated one-layered wax, did not significantly affect the drop behavior. These results provide strong evidence that three-dimensional plant wax coverages due to their adsorption capability are in general anti-adhesive for insects, which rely on wet adhesion.

Document Type: Article
Research affiliation: Kiel University > Kiel Marine Science
Kiel University
OceanRep > The Future Ocean - Cluster of Excellence
Refereed: Yes
DOI etc.: 10.1038/srep45483
ISSN: 2045-2322
Date Deposited: 18 Dec 2017 11:16
Last Modified: 18 Dec 2017 11:16
URI: http://eprints.uni-kiel.de/id/eprint/40747

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