A microbial cellulose film (pellicle), prepared by Acetorbactor xylinum, is a supramolecule system, absorbing a huge amount of water (99% by weight). To elucidate the affinity to water, we investigated the hierarchical structure in a pellicle by using ultra-small-angle and small-angle neutron scattering, observing a wide range of length scales from nm to mm. We successfully determined mass fractal dimensions for the amorphous structure, which hierarchically varies local concentration fluctuations, bundle and network, appeared as the length scale increases. On a basis of these findings, we discuss to address a question what factors determine the hierarchy in the microbial cellulose. This is a new topic of soft matter science, regarded as reaction-induced self-assembly in a non-equilibrium open system, therein soft matter physics, biochemistry and cell biology crucially interplay.
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