, Volume 17, Issue 1, pp 13–18 | Cite as

AFM observation of ultrathin microfibrils in fruit tissues

  • Hiroshi Niimura
  • Tomoya Yokoyama
  • Satoshi Kimura
  • Yuji Matsumoto
  • Shigenori KugaEmail author


Polysaccharide microfibrils in fruit tissue of higher plants (strawberry, peach, and rambutan) were examined by atomic force microscopy (AFM). For preserving native cellulose microfibrils, a combination of 2% NaClO2 and 4% NaOH extraction was applied to the materials. This corresponds to mild alkali extractin of holocellulose, and denoted here as weak alkali-resistant polysaccharide, WARP. The amount of neutral sugars corresponded to 53–95% of that of WARP. Glucose was the most abundant in the neutral sugars, being 74–87%. AFM examination of microfibrils dispersed on mica substrate allowed accurate determination of fibril widths as 1.0–2.0 nm. Their straight fibrillar shape and the results of X-ray diffraction and infrared spectroscopy indicate that these fibrils are cellulose. These results constitute direct evidence for existence of ultrafine cellulose microfibrils hitherto assumed from X-ray diffraction and NMR analyses.


Cellulose microfibril AFM Height measurement Fibril width 



We appreciate assistance by Dr. Tomokazu Sasaki for AFM expertise. This work was partially supported by Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research, No. 19380181.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Hiroshi Niimura
    • 1
  • Tomoya Yokoyama
    • 1
  • Satoshi Kimura
    • 1
  • Yuji Matsumoto
    • 1
  • Shigenori Kuga
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biomaterials Science, Graduate School of Agricultural and Life SciencesThe University of TokyoTokyoJapan

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