Biophysics and Soft Matter Seminar

Stiffness and Deformability of Soft Hydrated Polysaccharide Nanoparticles

John Dutcher, University of Guelph
Location: Online

Wednesday, 24 March 2021 11:30AM PDT

*To request access to the videoconference, email


The interaction of polysaccharides with water has a critical impact on their biological function as well as their technological applications. We have studied the effect of hydration on the mechanical stiffness and deformability of a unique polysaccharide, phytoglycogen, which is formed as soft, compact, dendritic nanoparticles in the kernels of sweet corn. This natural nanoparticle has many desirable properties - porosity, mechanical integrity, nontoxicity and biodegradability - that make it a unique functional additive to formulations for personal care, nutrition and biomedicine. Its suitability for these applications is further enhanced by its softness and deformability. I will describe our studies of the relationship between the mechanical properties and hydration of native and modified phytoglycogen nanoparticles, ranging from single particle measurements to ensemble averages, and how these measurements establish a quantitative basis for the development of new applications of this promising sustainable nanotechnology.