Underwater silk adhesive might close woundsMarch 2nd, 2010 - 11:35 am ICT by IANS
Washington, March 2 (IANS) Like silkworm moths, butterflies and spiders, caddisfly larvae spin silk, but they do so underwater. Now scientists are trying to make a wet adhesive out of it to close wounds.
University of Utah (U-U) researchers have discovered why the fly’s silk is sticky when wet and how that may make it valuable as an adhesive tape during surgery.
“Silk from caddisfly larvae - known to western fly fishermen as ‘rock rollers’ - may be useful some day as a medical bioadhesive for sticking to wet tissues,” says Russell Stewart, U-U associate professor of bioengineering.
“I picture it as sort of a wet Band-Aid, maybe used internally in surgery - like using a piece of tape to close an incision as opposed to sutures,” he adds.
“Gluing things together underwater is not easy. Have you ever tried to put a Band-Aid on in the shower? This insect has been doing this for 150 million to 200 million years,” Stewart adds.
The study is set for publication this week in Biomacromolecules, a journal of the American Chemical Society.
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