Honors Program


Date of this Version

Spring 3-12-2018

Document Type



Bohlim N. 2018. Understanding and Mimicking the Mechanical Surface Properties of Oryzae sativa Using PDMS Substrates. University of Nebraska-Lincoln.


Copyright Nicholas A. Bohlim


Rice is currently a staple crop produced around the world. Many species of rice exist, including the species Oryzae sativa. Despite the various structures the plant employs to protect itself from pathogens, the fungus Magnaporthe oryzae breaks through these barriers and devastates rice crops around the world. Continual research is being conducted to determine how the fungus interacts with the surface of the rice leaf. More research into the mechanical stimuli present on the rice leaf for appressoria formation of the fungus is necessary to further this research. A comparison material to the rice leaf, the copolymer polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) was chosen for its biocompatibility and tunable mechanical properties. Selected surface properties of stiffness, wettability, and topography were measured for both the rice leaf and PDMS.

The results of this study determined that PDMS properties can be modified to closely mimic those of the rice leaf, but drawbacks were noted in some areas, such as stiffness. These areas would require further modification to PDMS and are topics of future research. The results of this project have also been applied to live M. oryzae spore experiments, which have been excluded from this mechanical analysis.