Atomic force microscopy has been employed to compare the adhesion of Navicula species I diatoms to surfaces of a hydrophobic elastomer, Intersleek, and a hydrophilic mineral, mica. This was accomplished using tipless atomic force microscopy cantilevers functionalized with live diatom cells. Both surfaces were tested with the same diatom bioprobe. Force versus distance curves generated during these experiments revealed comparable cell adhesion strengths on Intersleek and mica, indicating that Navicula diatoms secrete extracellular polymeric substances with hydrophobic and hydrophilic properties. A statistical analysis of force curves was carried out and the average values of works of detachment of a diatom from Intersleek and mica surfaces were determined.
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