Highly Tough, Stretchable, and Solvent-Resistant Cellulose Nanocrystal Photonic Films for Mechanochromism and Actuator Properties

Cellulose nanocrystals (CNCs)-derived photonic materials have confirmed great potential in producing renewable optical and engineering areas. However, it remains challenging to simultaneously possess toughness, strength, and multiple responses for developing high-performance sensors, intelligent coatings, flexible textiles, and multifunctional devices. Herein, the authors report a facile and robust strategy that poly(ethylene glycol) dimethacrylate (PEGDMA) can be converged into the chiral nematic structure of CNCs by ultraviolet-triggered free radical polymerization in an N,N-dimethylformamide solvent system.
The resulting CNC-poly(PEGDMA) composite exhibits impressive strength (42 MPa), stretchability (104%), toughness (31 MJ m-3 ), and solvent resistance. Notably, it preserves vivid optical iridescence, displaying stretchable variation from red, yellow, to green responding to the applied mechanical stimuli. More interestingly, upon exposure to spraying moisture, it executes sensitive actuation (4.6° s-1 ) and multiple complex 3D deformation behaviors, accompanied by synergistic iridescent appearances.
Due to its structural anisotropy of CNC with typical left-handedness, the actuation shows the capability to generate a high probability (63%) of right-handed helical shapes, mimicking a coiled tendril. The authors envision that this versatile system with sustainability, robustness, mechanochromism, and specific actuating ability will open a https://biodas.org/ sustainable avenue in mechanical sensors, stretchable optics, intelligent actuators, and soft robots.

Understanding the Drying Behavior of Regenerated Cellulose Gel Beads: The Effects of Concentration and Nonsolvents

The drying behavior of regenerated cellulose gel beads swollen with different nonsolvents (e.g., water, ethanol, water/ethanol mixtures) is studied in situ on the macroscopic scale with an optical microscope as well as on nanoscale using small-angle/wide-angle X-ray scattering (SAXS/WAXS) techniques. Depending on the cellulose concentration, the structural evolution of beads during drying follows one of three distinct regimes.
First, when the cellulose concentration is lower than 0.5 wt %, the drying process comprises three steps and, regardless of the water/ethanol mixture composition, a sharp structural transition corresponding to the formation of a cellulose II crystalline structure is observed. Second, when the cellulose concentration is higher than 5.0 wt %, a two-step drying process is observed and no structural transition occurs for any of the beads studied. Third, when the cellulose concentration is between 0.5 and 5.0 wt %, the drying process is dependent on the nonsolvent composition.
A three-step drying process takes place for beads swollen with water/ethanol mixtures with a water content higher than 20%, while a two-step drying process is observed when the water content is lower than 20%. To describe the drying behavior governed by the cellulose concentration and nonsolvent composition, a simplified phase diagram is proposed.

Cellular Flocculation Using Concentrated Polymer Brush-Modified Cellulose Nanofibers with Different Fiber Lengths

In this study, concentrated polymer brush-modified cellulose nanofibers (CNFs) with different fiber lengths were used for the flocculation of cells for systematically studying the mechanism of this unique cellular flocculation based on colloidal flocculation theory. Concentrated poly(p-styrenesulfonic acid sodium salt) brush-grafted CNF (CNF-PSSNa) with different fiber lengths were cultured with three different cell types to examine their influence on floc (cell clusters formed by cellular flocculation) characteristics. The floc size and survival rate could be controlled by modifying the CNF-PSSNa fiber lengths.
The three cell types showed the same flocculation tendency after culture, indicating the applicability of the method in different cell lines. After 2 weeks of culture, CNF-PSSNa increased the specific expression of hepatocytes compared to the two-dimensional cell culture. Thus, owing to its wide applicability, high cell viability, and ability to control cell size and improve cell function, this technology could be used as a new three-dimensional cell culture method.

Gold nanoparticles spontaneously grown on cellulose nanofibrils as a reusable nanozyme for colorimetric detection of cholesterol in human serum

Recently, gold nanoparticles (AuNPs) are extensively used as peroxidase mimics. However, low catalytic activity, high synthesis cost, substrate-induced aggregation in reaction medium and difficulty in recovery and reuse still remain as major challenges. Here, a novel, simple, spontaneous, and reagent-less in-situ method for the production of AuNPs using dialdehyde cellulose nanofibrils (DACNF) is proposed. AuNPs synthesis time and size were greatly influenced by aldehyde content and the optimal aldehyde content for ultra-small AuNPs (≈10 nm) was 2.1 mM/g. AuNPs@DACNFs exhibited broad-spectrum peroxidase activity and steady-state kinetics revealed their better kinetic parameters (low Km and high Vmax) over horseradish peroxidase (HRP). AuNPs@DACNFs was further converted into paper strip, which served as a biosensor for H2O2 and cholesterol detection.
The proposed method exhibited wide linear response in the range of 10-90 μM and 0.05-0.45 mM, and detection limit of 0.39 μM and 1.9 μM for H2O2 and cholesterol, respectively. Great shelf life and reusability were evident by FE-SEM and ICP-OES analysis. The smartphone application “Color Grab” was used to enable the portable onsite detection. The results of cholesterol detection in human serum samples were in agreement with clinically observed values, suggesting the great potential of the probe in disease diagnosis.

COBL9 and COBL7 synergistically regulate root hair tip growth via controlling apical cellulose deposition

Root hairs are cylindrical extensions of root epidermal cells that are important for the acquisition of water and minerals, interactions between plant and microbes. The deposition of cell wall materials in the tip enables root hairs to maintain elongation constantly. To date, our knowledge of the regulators that connect the architecture of cell wall and the root hair development remains very limited.
Here, we demonstrated that COBL9 and COBL7, two genes of COBRA-Like family in Arabidopsis as well as their counterparts in rice, OsBC1L1 and OsBC1L8, regulate root hair growth. Single mutant cobl9, double mutants cobl7 cobl9 and double mutants osbc1l1 osbc1l8 all displayed prematurely terminated root hair elongation, though at varying levels. COBL7-YFP and COBL9-YFP accumulate prominently in the growing tips of newly emerged root hairs.
Furthermore, cobl9, cobl7 cobl9 and osbc1l1 osbc1l8 mutants were defective in the enrichment of cellulose in the tips of the growing root hairs. We also discovered that overexpression of COBL9 could promote root hair elongation and salinity tolerance. Taken together, these results provide compelling evidence that the polarized COBL7 and COBL9 in the tip of the emerging root hairs have conserved roles in regulating root hair development and stress adaptation in dicots and monocots.

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