1Department of Chemistry, CUNY-College of Staten Island and Institute for
Macromolecular Assemblies, 2800 Victory Boulevard, Staten Island, NY 10314
and 2Surface and Microanalysis Science Division, National Institute of Standards
and Technology, 100 Bureau Drive MS 8372, Gaithersburg, MD 20899.
Surface and interfacial studies of the cuticular layers of plants have
been conducted using a combination of scanned probe microscopy (SPM) and
solid-state nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy. Here we have
developed measurement protocols for the investigation of plant cuticular
membranes allowing for the assessment of local nanomechanical properties
of the outermost surface, in situ probing of surface structure, and the
investigation of the molecular dynamics of the membrane components as a
function of various environmental conditions including uptake of water,
and agrochemicals as well as the thermal-mechanical properties of surface
bound lipids. These investigations are aimed at evaluating at the nanoscale
the changes in cuticular integrity, which can impact pathogenic invasion.
Future directions include development of the means for nanoscale chemical
mapping of cuticular membranes.