The tenacity of these glues on wet surfaces is difficult to match with artificial adhesives.
Following up on their original research identifying the key characteristics controlling this transition from a water-based gel into a powerful yet flexible adhesive, researchers at Ithaca College have shed new light on the nature of the adhesive mechanism. Their findings could lead to developing surgical adhesives that would bind to wet surfaces and be less invasive than suturing mechanisms.
“The strength of the natural adhesive comes from the way long, rope-like polymers chemically tie together, or cross link, at certain points,” said Andrew Smith, associate professor of biology. “In our previous studies we had shown that metals were essential to the formation of cross-links. This is unusual, as some combination of electrostatic and hydrophobic interactions are commonly responsible for the formation of cross-links in other gels.”
Electrostatic interactions occur when a negatively charged group on one polymer is attracted to a positively charged group on another. Hydrophobic interactions take place when regions of a polymer don’t interact with water, so they stick together to avoid contacting water.
“We used several approaches to break these interactions, and the treatments that normally disrupt them had no impact on the glue’s mechanical integrity or ability to set,” Smith said. “Our study conclusively showed that electrostatic and hydrophobic interactions do not play any detectable role. Removing metals alone caused the glue to fall apart. This was exciting and unexpected.”
Removing the metals, however, didn’t completely break down the gel. The researchers discovered that a specific protein was responsible for forming strong cross-links that were unaffected when the metals were removed after the glue set. But when metals were removed before the glue set, the cross-links didn’t form.
“This is a very unusual material we’re looking at,” Smith said. “By discovering that metals are central to forming cross-links, we know there are several intriguing mechanisms that could hold the glue together.”For example, zinc, calcium and iron ions can bind very strongly to several molecules at the same time, thereby effectively joining them together. Iron and copper can also catalyze reactions that trigger strong cross-link formation.
“The significance of this is that we are much farther along the path to our goal of identifying how the glue works so that synthetic mimics can be made,” Smith said.
The study, “Robust Cross-links in Molluscan Adhesive Gels: Testing for Contributions from Hydrophobic and Electrostatic Interactions,” was published in “Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology-Part B: Biochemistry and Molecular Biology."
Keith Davis | Newswise Science News
A Map of the Cell’s Power Station
18.08.2017 | Albert-Ludwigs-Universität Freiburg im Breisgau
On the way to developing a new active ingredient against chronic infections
18.08.2017 | Deutsches Zentrum für Infektionsforschung
Whether you call it effervescent, fizzy, or sparkling, carbonated water is making a comeback as a beverage. Aside from quenching thirst, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign have discovered a new use for these "bubbly" concoctions that will have major impact on the manufacturer of the world's thinnest, flattest, and one most useful materials -- graphene.
As graphene's popularity grows as an advanced "wonder" material, the speed and quality at which it can be manufactured will be paramount. With that in mind,...
Physicists at the University of Bonn have managed to create optical hollows and more complex patterns into which the light of a Bose-Einstein condensate flows. The creation of such highly low-loss structures for light is a prerequisite for complex light circuits, such as for quantum information processing for a new generation of computers. The researchers are now presenting their results in the journal Nature Photonics.
Light particles (photons) occur as tiny, indivisible portions. Many thousands of these light portions can be merged to form a single super-photon if they are...
For the first time, scientists have shown that circular RNA is linked to brain function. When a RNA molecule called Cdr1as was deleted from the genome of mice, the animals had problems filtering out unnecessary information – like patients suffering from neuropsychiatric disorders.
While hundreds of circular RNAs (circRNAs) are abundant in mammalian brains, one big question has remained unanswered: What are they actually good for? In the...
An experimental small satellite has successfully collected and delivered data on a key measurement for predicting changes in Earth's climate.
The Radiometer Assessment using Vertically Aligned Nanotubes (RAVAN) CubeSat was launched into low-Earth orbit on Nov. 11, 2016, in order to test new...
A study led by scientists of the Max Planck Institute for the Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) at the Center for Free-Electron Laser Science in Hamburg presents evidence of the coexistence of superconductivity and “charge-density-waves” in compounds of the poorly-studied family of bismuthates. This observation opens up new perspectives for a deeper understanding of the phenomenon of high-temperature superconductivity, a topic which is at the core of condensed matter research since more than 30 years. The paper by Nicoletti et al has been published in the PNAS.
Since the beginning of the 20th century, superconductivity had been observed in some metals at temperatures only a few degrees above the absolute zero (minus...
16.08.2017 | Event News
04.08.2017 | Event News
26.07.2017 | Event News
18.08.2017 | Life Sciences
18.08.2017 | Physics and Astronomy
18.08.2017 | Materials Sciences