Researchers have discovered that iron in seawater is the key binding agent in the super-strong glues of the common blue mussel, Mytilus edulis. This is the first time researchers have determined that a metal such as iron is critical to forming an amorphous, biological material.
Common blue mussel (Mytilus edulis) hangs tough after a night adhering to otherwise "non-stick" Teflon®.
Credit: Jonathan Wilker of Purdue University, NSF
In addition to using the knowledge to develop safer alternatives for surgical and household glues, the researchers are looking at how to combat the glue to prevent damage to shipping vessels and the accidental transport of invasive species, such as the zebra mussel that has ravaged the midwestern United States.
National Science Foundation CAREER awardee Jonathan Wilker, Mary Sever and their colleagues at Purdue University announce their discovery in the Jan. 12 issue of Angewandte Chemie.
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