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Natural Adhesive Created with Saline Resistance to Operate in Wet Environments

Posted on 11/18/2021 8:56:37 AM By Phys.org
  

Scientists from the Université de Montréal have tweaked Nature’s strongest adhesive to extend the environments in which this totally organic aquatic bacteria is not only able to produce the strongest adhesive bond but also in aquatic conditions. To do so, the researchers have removed the natural adhesive’s total resistance to sea water and other wet areas which contain high levels of salt or human tissue which currently limits the environments in which the “holdfast” adhesive functions. 

The scientists report that new studies have discovered that the holdfast aquatic bacteria (caulobacter crescentus), discovered seven years ago by Canadian microbiologist Yves Brun of the Université de Montréal, is not alone in its strong adhesive abilities when bonding on wet surfaces like pipes and in fresh water. Their research showed that it shares genes with another bacteria (hirschia baltica), a relative which achieves similar levels of strong adhesive bonds in wet surroundings. This second holdfast, however, instead of resisting salinity as the first one did, uses salinity as its natural environment.

To boost the environmental coverage of the caulobacter bacteria’s adhesive ability to include saline water, the scientists report that they altered its composition and charge slightly by manipulating the level of expression of a particular gene. This changed the properties of both bacteria’s, and so improved the Caulobacter holdfast’s performance in a saline environment, which would make it usable as an adhesive in plumbing and hospitals where saline water is often present.