HomeNewsChemistryHow mussels make a robust underwater glue

How mussels make a robust underwater glue


The mussels’ beards (which cooks take away earlier than getting ready them) are made up of byssal threads and are used to assist hold the mussels tethered in place. At the top of every thread is a disc-shaped plaque that acts as an underwater glue. The uncommon qualities of the glue and the byssal threads have folks since historic instances, when the threads of sure species have been woven into luxurious berets, purses, gloves, and stockings. More lately, scientists have developed underwater adhesives and surgical glues impressed by byssal thread chemistry. The identification of the mechanisms concerned in creating the glue ought to advance work on this subject. Credit: Tobias Priemel

Blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) spend their days being buffeted by crashing waves. They handle to remain tethered to the rocks or their fellow mussels due to a extremely efficient underwater glue they produce. Because reaching adhesion within the presence of water is so difficult, scientists who’re fascinated with producing efficient adhesives to be used in moist environments (e.g., for surgical or dental therapies) have turned to mussels for inspiration. In a paper revealed at this time in Science, a McGill led worldwide analysis group studies that, after a decade of labor within the space, it has succeeded in uncovering the mobile mechanisms by which mussels fabricate underwater adhesives.


“The specific mechanism by which produce their adhesive has been shrouded in mystery until now because everything occurs hidden from view inside the mussel foot,” says Tobias Priemel, the primary creator on the paper, a Ph.D. pupil within the Harrington Lab, who has been engaged on this analysis for the previous seven years, initially as a MSc pupil in Germany. “To understand the mechanisms involved we applied advanced spectroscopic and microscopic techniques and developed an experimental approach that combined several advanced and basic methodologies from across biochemistry, chemistry, and .”

Mussels make glue in 2-3 minutes

By gathering data at a subcellular degree, the researchers found that inside the mussel foot, there are micron-sized channels (ranging in diameter from 1/10 to the complete width of a human hair) which funnel the substances that come collectively to make the glue. Condensed fluid proteins in tiny sacs (vesicles) are secreted into the channels the place they combine with (iron and vanadium, taken up from seawater). The steel ions, that are additionally saved in small vesicles, are slowly launched in a rigorously timed course of, finally curing (or hardening) the fluid protein right into a stable glue.

In the primary a part of the video, you see a marine mussel producing the byssal threads and glue plaques it makes use of to anchor itself to rocks and different mussels within the intertidal zones the place it lives. The second a part of the video makes use of a micro-CT scan (akin to the CT-scans folks get at hospitals) to look contained in the mussel foot, the specialised organ which produces the glue. In inexperienced you’ll be able to see the area the place the proteins for the glue are produced and saved and in blue you’ll be able to see the channels which transport these proteins to the tip of the mussel foot the place they combine with steel ions to kind the glue. Credit: Tobias Priemel

The accumulation and use of vanadium is particularly attention-grabbing, since only some different organisms are recognized to hyperaccumulate vanadium. The researchers consider that it performs an vital function in hardening the and are persevering with to work on this space.

“Mussels can make their underwater adhesive within 2-3 minutes by mixing metal ions with the fluid proteins,” explains Matthew Harrington, an affiliate professor in McGill’s Chemistry Department and the senior creator on the paper. “It’s a matter of bringing together the right ingredients, under the right conditions using the right timing. The more we understand about the process, the better engineers will later be able to adapt these concepts for manufacturing bio-inspired materials.”

The research “Microfluidic-like fabrication of metal ion-cured bioadhesives by mussels” is revealed in Science.


Scientists make powerful underwater glue inspired by barnacles and mussels


More data:
Tobias Priemel et al, Microfluidic-like fabrication of steel ion-cured bioadhesives by mussels, Science (2021). DOI: 10.1126/science.abi9702. www.science.org/doi/10.1126/science.abi9702

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How mussels make a robust underwater glue (2021, October 7)
retrieved 7 October 2021
from https://phys.org/news/2021-10-mussels-powerful-underwater.html

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