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Adhesive Secretions of Live Mussels Observed in Situ by Attenuated Total ReflectionInfrared Spectroscopy

Volume 61, Number 1 (Jan. 2007) Page 55-59

Gao, Zhihong; Bremer, Phil J.; Barker, Michael F.; Tan, Eng Wui; McQuillan, A. James


The chemical species involved in the adhesion of blue mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) and greenshell mussels (Perna canaliculus) to surfaces has been investigated using in situ attenuated total reflection infrared (ATR-IR) spectroscopy. Mussel spat ranging in size from 0.5 to 25 mm were placed in a flow cell containing a ZnSe multiple internal reflection prism and supplied with temperature-controlled seawater. Distinctively different absorption spectra were obtained when the mussels were predominantly moving across the surface or forming permanent bonds. With limited movement, the absorption spectrum was characteristic of protein with peaks near 1647 cm−1 (amide I), 1543 cm−1 (amide II), and 1235 cm−1 (amide III). When the mussels were observed to be moving across the surface of the ATR-IR crystal there was a strong broad absorption maximum around 1200-900 cm−1 (carbohydrate polymers), presumably due to the secretion of a weakly acidic mucopolysaccharide. Distinct differences in the spectra obtained from the adhesive secretions of blue or greenshell mussels were not observed. The data presented is the first reported use of IR spectroscopy to obtain in situ, real-time, chemical data on the interactions between invertebrates and substrates immersed in sea water.