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Sticky fingers: The evolution and mechanism of larval structures in ponerine ants



Many members of the ant subfamily Ponerinae possess in larval form a variety of specialized sticky appendages to facilitate the attaching of brood to nest chamber walls. The presence of these structures has been documented for decades, but up until now the exact mechanism by which they produce adhesion has not been fully explored. In this project, slicing histology and SEM technology were utilized to generate hypotheses for possible mechanisms. Meanwhile, tubercle evolution was investigated by mapping the structural diversity of these organs onto trees generated by recent molecular revision of the subfamily.
Biopolymer-ceramic composites are thought to be particularly promising materials for bone tissue engineering as they more closely mimic natural bone. Here, we demonstrate the fabrication by electrospinning of fibrous chitosan-hydroxyapatite composite scaffolds with low (1 wt%) and high (10 wt%) mineral contents. Scanning electron microscopy (FESEM), energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS) and unidirectional tensile testing were performed to determine fiber surface morphology, elemental composition, and tensile Young's modulus (E) and ultimate tensile strength (σUTS ), respectively. EDS scans of the scaffolds indicated that the fibers, crosslinked with either hexamethylene-1,6-diaminocarboxysulfonate (HDACS) or genipin, have a crystalline hydroxyapatite mineral content at 10 wt% additive. Moreover, FESEM micrographs showed that all electrospun fibers have diameters (122 - 249nm), which fall within the range of those of fibrous collagen found in the extracellular matrix of bone. Young's modulus and ultimate tensile strength of the various crosslinked composite compositions were in the range of 116 - 329 MPa and 2 - 15 MPa, respectively. Osteocytes seeded onto the mineralized fibers were able to demonstrate good biocompatibility enhancing the potential use for this material in future bone tissue engineering applications. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
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