Sensors 2013, 13(9), 12175-12191; doi:10.3390/s130912175
Article

Determination of the Elastic Properties of Tomato Fruit Cells with an Atomic Force Microscope

Institute of Agrophysics, Polish Academy of Sciences, Doswiadczalna 4, Lublin 20-290, Poland
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 9 July 2013; in revised form: 23 August 2013 / Accepted: 5 September 2013 / Published: 11 September 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Nanomechanical Sensors)
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Abstract: Since the mechanical properties of single cells together with the intercellular adhesive properties determine the macro-mechanical properties of plants, a method for evaluation of the cell elastic properties is needed to help explanation of the behavior of fruits and vegetables in handling and food processing. For this purpose, indentation of tomato mesocarp cells with an atomic force microscope was used. The Young’s modulus of a cell using the Hertz and Sneddon models, and stiffness were calculated from force-indentation curves. Use of two probes of distinct radius of curvature (20 nm and 10,000 nm) showed that the measured elastic properties were significantly affected by tip geometry. The Young’s modulus was about 100 kPa ± 35 kPa and 20 kPa ± 14 kPa for the sharper tip and a bead tip, respectively. Moreover, large variability regarding elastic properties (>100%) among cells sampled from the same region in the fruit was observed. We showed that AFM provides the possibility of combining nano-mechanical properties with topography imaging, which could be very useful for the study of structure-related properties of fruits and vegetables at the cellular and sub-cellular scale.
Keywords: AFM; indentation; tomato; cell; Young’s modulus; Hertz; Sneddon; stiffness; texture; biomechanics

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MDPI and ACS Style

Zdunek, A.; Kurenda, A. Determination of the Elastic Properties of Tomato Fruit Cells with an Atomic Force Microscope. Sensors 2013, 13, 12175-12191.

AMA Style

Zdunek A, Kurenda A. Determination of the Elastic Properties of Tomato Fruit Cells with an Atomic Force Microscope. Sensors. 2013; 13(9):12175-12191.

Chicago/Turabian Style

Zdunek, Artur; Kurenda, Andrzej. 2013. "Determination of the Elastic Properties of Tomato Fruit Cells with an Atomic Force Microscope." Sensors 13, no. 9: 12175-12191.

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