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Keywords:

  • SERS;
  • imaging;
  • Tardigrada;
  • cryptobiosis;
  • gold nanoparticles;
  • plasmonics

Abstract

Tardigrades are microscopic metazoans which are able to survive extreme physical and chemical conditions by entering a stress tolerant state called cryptobiosis. At present, the molecular mechanisms behind cryptobiosis are still poorly understood. We show that surface enhanced Raman scattering supported by plasmonic gold nanoparticles can measure molecular constituents and their local distribution in live tardigrades. Surface enhanced Raman signatures allow to differentiate between two species and indicate molecular structural differences between tardigrades in water and in a dry state. This opens new avenues for exploring cryptobiosis by studying molecular changes in live cryptobiotic organisms. (© 2013 WILEY-VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim)