Glue from the mussels foot

A research company in Sweden has developed a method to extract glue from the feet of Blue mussels. From 10 kilograms of mussels it is possible to manufacture a few milligrams of glue for use in the medical and electronic industries. Interest for this type of glue came from the American navy. In certain glands in the foot of the Blue mussel there is an adhesive substance, a protein that attaches itself very well to a variety of surfaces. The US Navy wanted to use the glue for protecting different types Marine equipment such as cameras, and therefore the US Navy has subsidized large parts of the mussel glue research in the USA.

The glue is a water resistant Biological adhesive that is environmentally sound with good adhesive properties. The active substance in the glue is a protein found in a gland in the foot of the Blue mussel. The protein is secreted to enable the mussel to adhere to the substrate and is composed of 75-80 repeated sequences of hexa/ decapeptides . These have a high content of the hydroxyl bearing amino acids hydroxyprolin, tyrosin och dopa that are the most active in the adhesion process. Within the medical industry, the glue can be used for mending fractures, within eye surgery, organ transplantation or within dentistry. As anti-fouling, the glue functions as a protective surface layer and within the electronic industry it is hoped that it can be used as an electrically conductive and water resistan glue. To accomplish this, metal ions, for example of silver, must be added.

Blue mussel     More facts     Other names  
© Aquascope 2000   Tjärnö Marine Biological Laboratory, Strömstad, Sweden
Bo Johannesson | Martin Larsvik | Lars-Ove Loo | Helena Samuelsson