Structure and biomechanics

Department of Microstructure and Mechanics of Biomaterials

Structure and biomechanics

Since plant tissue is a multi-phase and hierarchical assembly, we focus on structure evaluation, mechanical testing, and modelling, at various scales of tissue organization. We have chosen the mesocarp tissue as the model system because it forms the bulk of fruits and vegetables, it is relatively homogeneous, and convenient from the point of view of sampling. Mesocarp tissue is made from cells surrounded by cell walls resistant to intracellular pressure. Cells are bonded by middle lamella. In some plants cells do not fill the space completely and intercellular spaces may form a network of channels. The primary cell wall is made from three major polysaccharides (cellulose, hemicellulose and pectins) and proteins whereas the middle lamella is rich in pectins. Their physical and chemical structures determine cell wall properties and the properties of the whole organism.