Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Invasive Green Mussel May Inspire New Forms Of Wet Adhesion

Date:
September 2, 2009
Source:
University of California - Santa Barbara
Summary:
The green mussel is known for being a notoriously invasive fouling species, but scientists have just discovered that it also has a very powerful form of adhesion in its foot. The stickiness of the mussel's foot could possibly be copied to form new artificial adhesives.

Florida Green Mussel
Credit: Rod Rolle

The green mussel is known for being a notoriously invasive fouling species, but scientists have just discovered that it also has a very powerful form of adhesion in its foot, according to a recent article in the Journal of Biological Chemistry. The stickiness of the mussel's foot could possibly be copied to form new artificial adhesives.

Other mussels have inspired synthetic polymers that have been made into versatile adhesives and coatings, explained J. Herbert Waite, senior author and a professor in UC Santa Barbara's Marine Science Institute. They all rely on proteins that contain an amino acid called "Dopa," (identical to the Dopa used to treat Parkinson's disease) and have been studied extensively by Waite and his research group.

Waite learned that the green mussel, Perna viridis, relies on an alternative to the common "Dopa" chemistry, based on an elaborate modification of the amino acid tryptophan in the green mussel's adhesive protein. Its adhesive chemistry is much more complicated than that of mussels previously studied. It took Waite and his team six years to unravel the story.

The green mussel's sticky adhesiveness has the potential to help form strong bonds in wet surfaces, including teeth and bones. In addition, the adhesive could be used to repair ships that have developed cracks while at sea and must be repaired in a wet environment.

Waite was first alerted to the complicated adhesive of the green mussel when a Japanese group contacted him to comment on their research on the animal. He then learned of an infestation of green mussels in Tampa Bay, Fla.

On further study, he learned that the aggressive green mussel had moved from India's Sea of Bengal to many locations around the world, including the coasts of Japan, Australia, Korea, China, the Philippines, and Indonesia. Additionally, many Pacific Islands and the coasts of some countries surrounding the Gulf of Mexico have been invaded. "People are interested in how they invade, adapt, and spread so easily," said Waite.

Waite asked the U.S. Geological Survey and Florida Sea Grant to send him frozen specimens from Tampa Bay, as this is the only way that California would allow the green mussel to be shipped into the state. The feet were severed from about 100 freshly shucked mussels. After thawing, they were placed in a tissue grinder and then centrifuged for study.

"One aspect that is kind of scary is that the green mussel is more successful than other kinds of mussels at living in polluted water," said Waite. Coastal power plants that flush warm seawater into the ocean provide an ideal environment for the mussels. "Once they get a foothold, they stay."

The other authors on the paper are Hua Zhao and Jason Sagert of the Institute of Chemical and Engineering Sciences in Singapore, and Dong Soo Hwang of the Marine Science Institute at UCSB.

 


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of California - Santa Barbara. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of California - Santa Barbara. "Invasive Green Mussel May Inspire New Forms Of Wet Adhesion." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 2 September 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090827141411.htm>.
University of California - Santa Barbara. (2009, September 2). Invasive Green Mussel May Inspire New Forms Of Wet Adhesion. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090827141411.htm
University of California - Santa Barbara. "Invasive Green Mussel May Inspire New Forms Of Wet Adhesion." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/08/090827141411.htm (accessed April 23, 2014).

Share This



More Earth & Climate News

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

California Drought Is Good News for Gold Prospectors

California Drought Is Good News for Gold Prospectors

AFP (Apr. 22, 2014) — For months California has suffered from a historic drought. The lack of water is worrying for farmers and ranchers, but for gold diggers it’s a stroke of good fortune. With water levels low, normally inaccessible areas are exposed. Duration: 01:57 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener

Raw: MN Lakes Still Frozen Before Fishing Opener

AP (Apr. 22, 2014) — With only three weeks until Minnesota's fishing opener, many are wondering if the ice will be gone. Some of the Northland lakes are still covered by up to three feet of ice, causing concern that just like last year, the lakes won't be ready. (April 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Scientists Warn Of Likely El Niño Event This Year

Scientists Warn Of Likely El Niño Event This Year

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — With Pacific ocean water already showing signs of warming, the NOAA says there's about a 66 percent chance the event will begin before November. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Is North Korea Planning Nuclear Test #4?

Newsy (Apr. 22, 2014) — South Korean officials say North Korea is preparing to conduct another nuclear test, but is Pyongyang just bluffing this time? Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins