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Sunday, 15 September 2019

Nature – once more showing off

Thursday, 7 May 2015 | Posted by: Michael Richter, European Coatings Journal

I have to admit, I am a little jealous of nature´s way to invent new things. How nature is dealing with complex molecules to solve problems in a playfully way. I really like the concept to have an eye for small and hard to discover details in nature in order to find solutions for our lives. Let´s try this concept of creating ideas with the example of a carnivorous plant.

Just think of sundew – did you ever ask yourself the question how these impressive carnivorous plant traps insects? You will surely say "Yes, they are using an adhesive.” You are completely right, but on a molecular level? How is this adhesive constructed and how are the features reasoned by its molecular structure? Research now can give answers to these questions.

Having a closer look

US-scientists at the Ohio State university could now map the recipe how this adhesive is built. They used different complicated methods to find out that this bioadhesive consists of 96% water and a highly regular network of polysaccharides. The chains are crosslinked by calcium and magnesium ions. All these features make the adhesive extremely biocompatible and viscoelastic at the same time – features which reason the (nearly) perfect applicability for tissue engineering.

Let´s think further!

On the one hand there is possibly a smart solution for adhering tissues. But as all of you know, there are far more things which have to be adhered. The buzzword now is "biomimetic sugar-based adhesive”. This is exactly on what the researchers are working at the moment. They try to copy nature´s example and to generate synthetic analogues. Even if this concept is not worth to be copied in a one to one fashion. To understand the concept behind this plant derived adhesive can help to work on new and innovative concepts.

Now it is your turn and I do hace the following questions for you:

What do you think of this finding?
From your point of view, is this finding of any use?
In which applications would you like this concept to be applied?

Kind regards,
Michael Richter

Y. Huang, Y. Wang, L. Sun, R. Agrawal, M. Zhang, J. R. Soc. Interface 2015, Vol. 12.

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Author

Michael Richter
European Coatings Journal
Michael Richter
Scientific Consultant
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