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Force measurements in biological systems

Adhesion forces are essential for the growth and the migration of biological cells. In addition, cell-matrix adhesion is also important for cell regeneration and tumor growth. We developed an optical technique which allows the direct visualization of forces in biological systems. This method is based on optical waveguides in systems with extremely large mechanical susceptibilities. The method was employed to measure the penetration forces of the plant pathogenic fungus Colletrotrichum graminicola which is known to exert during infection of host plants rather strong forces by the formation of a penetration hypha.

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