Compressibility and porosity modulate the mechanical properties of giant gas vesicles

Hedar H. Al-Terke, Grégory Beaune, Muhammad Junaid, Jani Seitsonen, Arja Paananen, Jaakko V.I. Timonen, Jussi Joensuu, Françoise Brochard-Wyart, Robin H.A. Ras (Corresponding Author)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Gas vesicles used as contrast agents for noninvasive ultrasound imaging must be formulated to be stable, and their mechanical properties must be assessed. We report here the formation of perfluoro-n-butane microbubbles coated with surface-active proteins that are produced by filamentous fungi (hydrophobin HFBI from Trichoderma reesei). Using pendant drop and pipette aspiration techniques, we show that these giant gas vesicles behave like glassy polymersomes, and we discover novel gas extraction regimes. We develop a model to analyze the micropipette aspiration of these compressible gas vesicles and compare them to incompressible liquid-filled vesicles. We introduce a sealing parameter to characterize the leakage of gas under aspiration through the pores of the protein coating. Utilizing this model, we can determine the elastic dilatation modulus, surface viscosity, and porosity of the membrane. These results demonstrate the engineering potential of protein-coated bubbles for echogenic and therapeutic applications and extend the use of the pipette aspiration technique to compressible and porous systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2211509120
Pages (from-to)e2211509120
Number of pages12
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • bubbles
  • compressibility
  • gas vesicles
  • porosity
  • viscoelasticity
  • Porosity


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