NEXAFS imaging to characterize the physio-chemical composition of cuticle from African Flower Scarab Eudicella gralli

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  • Joe E. Baio, Oregon State University
  • ,
  • Cherno Jaye, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg
  • ,
  • Erin Sullivan, Woodland Park Zoo
  • ,
  • Mette H. Rasmussen
  • Daniel A. Fischer, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Gaithersburg
  • ,
  • Stanislav Gorb, Kiel University
  • ,
  • Tobias Weidner

The outermost surface of insect cuticle is a high-performance interface that provides wear protection, hydration, camouflage and sensing. The complex and inhomogeneous structure of insect cuticle imposes stringent requirements on approaches to elucidate its molecular structure and surface chemistry. Therefore, a molecular understanding and possible mimicry of the surface of insect cuticle has been a challenge. Conventional optical and electron microscopies as well as biochemical techniques provide information about morphology and chemistry but lack surface specificity. We here show that a near edge X-ray absorption fine structure microscope at the National Synchrotron Light Source can probe the surface chemistry of the curved and inhomogeneous cuticle of the African flower scarab. The analysis shows the distribution of organic and inorganic surface species while also hinting at the presence of aragonite at the dorsal protrusion region of the Eudicella gralli head, in line with its biological function.

TidsskriftNature Communications
Sider (fra-til)1-8
Antal sider8
StatusUdgivet - 2019

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