Bacterium organizes hierarchical amorphous structure in microbial cellulose

S. Koizumi, Z. Yue, Y. Tomita, T. Kondo, H. Iwase, D. Yamaguchi, T. Hashimoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


A pellicle, a gel film of microbial cellulose, is a supermolecular system containing 99% of water by weight, which is closely related to an amorphous structure in it. Using ultra-small-angle neutron scattering, in order to cover over a wide range of length scales from nm to 10μm, we examined the hierarchical amorphous structure in the microbial cellulose, which is synthesized by a bacterium (Acetobacter xylinum). The microbial cellulose swollen by water shows small-angle scattering that obeys a power law q -behavior according to q as a function of the magnitude of the scattering vector q . The power law, determined by scattering, is attributed to a mass fractal due to the distribution of the center of mass for the crystallite (microfibril) in amorphous cellulose swollen by water. As q increases, α takes the values of 2.5, 1, and 2.35, corresponding, respectively, to a gel network composed of bundles, a bundle composed of cellulose ribbons, and concentration fluctuations in a bundle. From the mass fractal q -behavior and its length scale limits, we evaluated a volume fraction of crystallite in microbial cellulose. It was found that 90% of the cellulose bundle is occupied by amorphous cellulose containing water.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)137-142
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Physical Journal E
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - May 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biotechnology
  • Biophysics
  • Chemistry(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Surfaces and Interfaces


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