Microstructure and Chemical Composition of Colletes halophilus Nest Cell Linings

Rebecca Belisle

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

Abstract

Bees of the genus Colletes have the unique ability to create what has been described as a cellophane-like nest cell lining material for the protection of their developing brood. Chemically, this material has been described as a linear polyester and has been noted for being naturally derived, robust and strongly resistant to chemical degradation as well as biodegradable. Despite these interesting properties little is known about the structure, chemistry or physical properties of the Colletes nest cell lining. This study investigates the nest cell linings of Colletes halophilus to addresses the discrepancies in the published literature on nest cell lining chemistry and structure. Using a variety of microscopical, analytical chemistry, mechanical and thermal characterization techniques a more complete model of the nest cell lining material is revealed. As opposed to simply being composed of a linear polyester as previously thought, the Colletes halophilus nest cell linings are shown to be biocomposite structures constructed from silk fibres laid down as a scaffolding for the application of a copolymer matrix composed of multiple ester containing compounds. Notably a composite structure has been revealed using SEM, TEM and confocal microscopy, and a more complex chemical composition revealed through FTIR and TOF techniques. Additionally, the Colletes halophilus nest cells show mechanical and thermal properties characteristic of a largely amorphous, thermoset polymer. These results advance the current understanding of the anatomy and behaviour of the Colletes bees as well as providing new information on the morphology
and chemistry of the nest cell lining material. The overall outcome of this study is a clearer understanding of the structure and composition of the nest cell lining itself as well its potential as biopolymer. Advances in the understanding of the structure and composition of this naturally derived composite may serve as a model for nonpetroleum derived polymers in the future.
LanguageEnglish
QualificationMPhil
Awarding Institution
  • University of Bath
Supervisors/Advisors
  • Turner, Irene, Supervisor
  • Ansell, Martin, Supervisor
Award date1 Mar 2012
StatusUnpublished - 1 Mar 2012

Fingerprint

Linings
Microstructure
Chemical analysis
Polyesters
Polymers
Cellophane
Biopolymers
Silk
Confocal microscopy
Thermosets
Composite structures
Esters
Thermodynamic properties
Copolymers
Physical properties
Transmission electron microscopy
Degradation
Mechanical properties
Scanning electron microscopy
Fibers

Keywords

  • Biocomposite
  • microscopy
  • chemical analysis
  • polyester
  • biopolymer

Cite this

Microstructure and Chemical Composition of Colletes halophilus Nest Cell Linings. / Belisle, Rebecca.

2012. 142 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis

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abstract = "Bees of the genus Colletes have the unique ability to create what has been described as a cellophane-like nest cell lining material for the protection of their developing brood. Chemically, this material has been described as a linear polyester and has been noted for being naturally derived, robust and strongly resistant to chemical degradation as well as biodegradable. Despite these interesting properties little is known about the structure, chemistry or physical properties of the Colletes nest cell lining. This study investigates the nest cell linings of Colletes halophilus to addresses the discrepancies in the published literature on nest cell lining chemistry and structure. Using a variety of microscopical, analytical chemistry, mechanical and thermal characterization techniques a more complete model of the nest cell lining material is revealed. As opposed to simply being composed of a linear polyester as previously thought, the Colletes halophilus nest cell linings are shown to be biocomposite structures constructed from silk fibres laid down as a scaffolding for the application of a copolymer matrix composed of multiple ester containing compounds. Notably a composite structure has been revealed using SEM, TEM and confocal microscopy, and a more complex chemical composition revealed through FTIR and TOF techniques. Additionally, the Colletes halophilus nest cells show mechanical and thermal properties characteristic of a largely amorphous, thermoset polymer. These results advance the current understanding of the anatomy and behaviour of the Colletes bees as well as providing new information on the morphologyand chemistry of the nest cell lining material. The overall outcome of this study is a clearer understanding of the structure and composition of the nest cell lining itself as well its potential as biopolymer. Advances in the understanding of the structure and composition of this naturally derived composite may serve as a model for nonpetroleum derived polymers in the future.",
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N2 - Bees of the genus Colletes have the unique ability to create what has been described as a cellophane-like nest cell lining material for the protection of their developing brood. Chemically, this material has been described as a linear polyester and has been noted for being naturally derived, robust and strongly resistant to chemical degradation as well as biodegradable. Despite these interesting properties little is known about the structure, chemistry or physical properties of the Colletes nest cell lining. This study investigates the nest cell linings of Colletes halophilus to addresses the discrepancies in the published literature on nest cell lining chemistry and structure. Using a variety of microscopical, analytical chemistry, mechanical and thermal characterization techniques a more complete model of the nest cell lining material is revealed. As opposed to simply being composed of a linear polyester as previously thought, the Colletes halophilus nest cell linings are shown to be biocomposite structures constructed from silk fibres laid down as a scaffolding for the application of a copolymer matrix composed of multiple ester containing compounds. Notably a composite structure has been revealed using SEM, TEM and confocal microscopy, and a more complex chemical composition revealed through FTIR and TOF techniques. Additionally, the Colletes halophilus nest cells show mechanical and thermal properties characteristic of a largely amorphous, thermoset polymer. These results advance the current understanding of the anatomy and behaviour of the Colletes bees as well as providing new information on the morphologyand chemistry of the nest cell lining material. The overall outcome of this study is a clearer understanding of the structure and composition of the nest cell lining itself as well its potential as biopolymer. Advances in the understanding of the structure and composition of this naturally derived composite may serve as a model for nonpetroleum derived polymers in the future.

AB - Bees of the genus Colletes have the unique ability to create what has been described as a cellophane-like nest cell lining material for the protection of their developing brood. Chemically, this material has been described as a linear polyester and has been noted for being naturally derived, robust and strongly resistant to chemical degradation as well as biodegradable. Despite these interesting properties little is known about the structure, chemistry or physical properties of the Colletes nest cell lining. This study investigates the nest cell linings of Colletes halophilus to addresses the discrepancies in the published literature on nest cell lining chemistry and structure. Using a variety of microscopical, analytical chemistry, mechanical and thermal characterization techniques a more complete model of the nest cell lining material is revealed. As opposed to simply being composed of a linear polyester as previously thought, the Colletes halophilus nest cell linings are shown to be biocomposite structures constructed from silk fibres laid down as a scaffolding for the application of a copolymer matrix composed of multiple ester containing compounds. Notably a composite structure has been revealed using SEM, TEM and confocal microscopy, and a more complex chemical composition revealed through FTIR and TOF techniques. Additionally, the Colletes halophilus nest cells show mechanical and thermal properties characteristic of a largely amorphous, thermoset polymer. These results advance the current understanding of the anatomy and behaviour of the Colletes bees as well as providing new information on the morphologyand chemistry of the nest cell lining material. The overall outcome of this study is a clearer understanding of the structure and composition of the nest cell lining itself as well its potential as biopolymer. Advances in the understanding of the structure and composition of this naturally derived composite may serve as a model for nonpetroleum derived polymers in the future.

KW - Biocomposite

KW - microscopy

KW - chemical analysis

KW - polyester

KW - biopolymer

M3 - Doctoral Thesis

ER -