Ultima Thule

In ancient times the northernmost region of the habitable world - hence, any distant, unknown or mysterious land.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Super-Duper glue -- Bacteria Form Strongest Glue Ever

By Aussiegirl

I think that should be "the bacterium Caulobacter crescentus". And I wonder why nature decided that this particular bacterium needed such a stong gluing ability.

The question remains -- will it take the place of duct tape in the modern world?

Wired News: Bacteria Form Strongest Glue Ever
A common bacteria that clings to the inside of water pipes stays in place with the strongest glue known to exist in nature, according to a team of scientists that includes an Indiana University biologist.

The researchers found that the bacteria Caulobacter crescentus can withstand a force equivalent to five tons per square inch -- the pressure exerted by three or four cars balanced atop a quarter -- before it is swept from its moorings.

Yves Brun, the IU biologist who co-authored the research, said the super adhesive the bacteria produces could theoretically be mass-produced for engineering and medical purposes, including as a biodegradable glue to replace sutures and staples in surgery.

"The challenge will be to produce large quantities of this glue without it sticking to everything that is used to produce it," he told The Herald-Times for a Tuesday story. [...]

That substance is the strongest glue known to occur in nature and is three times as strong as commercial "super" glue products, Brun said. [...]

Because it works underwater, even in salty water, he said it could be used as a surgical adhesive, in joint-replacement surgery and in dental procedures. But figuring out how to do it will require solving scientific and engineering problems of surface chemistry and manufacturing processes.


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