Efficient Labeling of Nanocellulose for High-Resolution Fluorescence Microscopy Applications
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The visualization of naturally derived cellulose nanofibrils (CNFs) and nanocrystals (CNCs) within nanocomposite materials is key to the development of packaging materials, tissue culture scaffolds, and emulsifying agents, among many other applications. In this work, we develop a versatile and efficient two-step approach based on triazine and azide-alkyne click-chemistry to fluorescently label nanocelluloses with a variety of commercially available dyes. We show that this method can be used to label bacterial cellulose fibrils, plant-derived CNFs, carboxymethylated CNFs, and CNCs with Cy5 and fluorescein derivatives to high degrees of labeling using minimal amounts of dye while preserving their native morphology and crystalline structure. The ability to tune the labeling density with this method allowed us to prepare optimized samples that were used to visualize nanostructural features of cellulose through super-resolution microscopy. The efficiency, cost-effectiveness, and versatility of this method make it ideal for labeling nanocelluloses and imaging them through advanced microscopy techniques for a broad range of applications.
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