Just imagine of glue that can fix bigger things like ships and complex things healing wounds.
The researches at Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have created the strongest- ever waterproof glue or pasting material that is inspired by the shellfish that possess natural adhesives for secretion. The sticky material has the potential to fix almost anything, ranging from healing surgical incisions and wounds to repairing big ships.
For the adhesive, the researchers engineered bacteria that are capable of secreting the same protein that is possessed by shellfish, which allows them to cling from any surface. The protein produced by shellfish is named as mussel foot proteins.
The hybrid material hence produced naturally integrated the sticky mussel proteins with the biofilm proteins created by bacteria.
While mussel proteins of shellfish allow them to stick to underwater surfaces, the biofilm is created by bacteria that live on surfaces.
Lead study researcher Timothy Lu described the project as the first of several potential projects that could provide close insight to creation of new and better sticky materials from various sources.
“The ultimate goal for us is to set up a platform where we can start building materials that combine multiple different functional domains together and to see if that gives us better materials performance,” said Lu, an associate professor of biological engineering and electrical engineering and computer science (EECS).
Earlier, the researchers had tried to create mussel food proteins with the help of E. coli bacteria. But the material produced lacked the strength of adhesiveness up to the desired extent.
For the experiment, the researchers let the bacteria produce the mussel foot proteins that were bonded to curli fibers, another form of bacteria protein that can clump together to create meshes.
Following incubation of the bacteria, meshes resulted in formation of strong adhesives that were capable of sticking to any type of surface whether wet and dry.
The research findings were published in the journal Nature Nanotechnology.