The adhesive properties of gastroliths from a freshwater crayfish (Cherax quadricarinatus) were quantified by colloidal probe atomic force microscopy (AFM) between heavily demineralized gastrolith microparticles and gastrolith substrates of different composition. Combined AFM and transmission electron microscopy studies demonstrated that the sequential detachment and large adhesion energies that characterise the adhesive behaviour of a native gastrolith substrate are dominated by sacrificial bonds between chitin fibres and between chitin fibres and CaCO3. The sacrificial bonds were shown to be strongly related to the gastrolith proteins and when the majority of these proteins were removed by ethylenediaminetetraacetic acid (EDTA), the sequential detachment disappeared and the adhesive energy was reduced by more than two orders of magnitude. © 2012 The Royal Society of Chemistry.
- Atomic force microscopy
- Calcium carbonate
- Transmission electron microscopy