Student Scholar Symposium Abstracts and Posters

Document Type

Chapman access only poster or presentation

Publication Date

Spring 5-1-2024

Faculty Advisor(s)

Douglas Fudge


Hagfishes are elongate saltwater fishes that defend themselves using thick slime composed of skein threads and mucus vesicles that clogs the gills of predators. The 3D structure of hagfish slime is currently unknown. Flash freezing then freeze-drying (lyophilizing) slime could help determine the 3D structure of the slime. Instead of seawater which would show salt crystals, deionized (DI) water was used to produce slime from pacific hagfish (Eptatretus stoutii). It is hypothesized that slime in DI water forms too quickly causing the threads to tangle. Varying ethanol (EtOH) and water temperatures might help slow down unraveling and produce a slime structure that is more representative of natural slime. Although there were no obvious directional effects of EtOH on mucus fiber diameter, there was a significantly different mucus fiber diameter between the 5% EtOH (0.339 μm) samples and the 10% EtOH (0.524 μm) samples (p < 0.05). Furthermore, mucus threads at 35°C were significantly thinner than the 1°C and 20°C samples (p < 0.05). Despite no obvious directional effects between the EtOH and temperature treatments, higher EtOH concentrations and higher temperatures seem to have an effect on hagfish slime structure.


Presented at the Spring 2024 Student Scholar Symposium at Chapman University.

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