Nature’s strongest glue now works in each moist and salty environments


Two cells of “Caulobacter crescentus” connected by their “holdfast.” Credit: University of Montreal

Université de Montréal microbiologist Yves Brun made the invention a number of years in the past: an aquatic bacterium known as Caulobacter crescentus produces an especially highly effective glue that adhere to its surrounding moist surfaces, corresponding to pipes and recent water.

Dubbed “holdfast,” this pure and innocent adhesive works extraordinarily effectively in moist environments, one thing few glues do, with one huge exception: the place the salinity degree is excessive, corresponding to the ocean and in addition human tissues, it loses all of its adhesive properties.

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Brun and his crew wished to discover a strategy to make it work in each environments—moist and salty—they usually discovered the answer, publishing the outcomes of their research within the scientific journal iScience.

Comparing two cousins

To learn the way to enhance holdfast adhesion in excessive salinity environments, the researchers first in contrast Caulobacter crescentus with a marine relative known as Hirschia baltica. They discovered each had the identical genes to synthesize holdfasts, indicating they used the identical sort of glue.

Hirschia baltica holdfast additionally appeared to carry out very effectively in a saline environment, which is its pure setting.

“By manipulating the level of expression of a particular gene whose function is to slightly alter the composition and charge of the holdfast, we saw that its properties changed in the two bacterial cousins,” mentioned postdoctoral researcher Nelson Chepkwony, the research’s lead writer.

“And it improved the performance of Caulobacter’s holdfast in a saline environment.”

According to Brun, this research marks an necessary step in the direction of the event of “green” adhesives that can be utilized the place there may be the presence of salty water: within the transport trade and in plumbing, for instance—and in addition in hospitals, as surgical adhesives.

Entirely natural

“Holdfast is an entirely organic glue, whereas industrial glues are mainly petroleum derivatives, which therefore produce toxic waste,” Professor Brun mentioned. “In addition, this glue comes from a non-pathogenic bacterium that may be simply produced in very giant portions.

“The environmental impact of holdfast production is therefore very low. And with what we have discovered, we now know that we can change the properties of the glue to suit the desired application.”

He added: “We also believe that studying the diversity of bacteria related to Caulobacter crescentus in various environments may allow us to discover other glues with useful properties.”

New bioinspired glue bonds any surface underwater

More info:
Nelson Ok. Chepkwony et al, A polysaccharide deacetylase enhances bacterial adhesion in high-ionic-strength environments, iScience (2021). DOI: 10.1016/j.isci.2021.103071

Nature’s strongest glue now works in each moist and salty environments (2021, October 27)
retrieved 27 October 2021

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