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17 February 2012 iNANO

Mussel Inspired Potential Tissue Adhesives – Design, Synthesis and Characterization

Blue mussels
Blue mussels.
Image Credit: Andreas Trepte, www.photo-natur.de.

The blue mussel adheres to surfaces by use of its beard, which consists of threads that are made of proteins and contain high amounts of the molecule DOPA. DOPA has unique properties related to adhesion and is the main reason why the threads are able to attach to surfaces under water. The DOPA containing proteins can be cross-linked by iron ions through so-called coordination bonds and thereby strong self-healing materials are obtained.
Working at Aarhus University, Denmark, at iNANO and the Department of Chemistry under the supervision of Associate Professor Henrik Birkedal, Marie mimicked the blue mussel’s glue by incorporating DOPA into “smart” polymers that have an ability to change properties after receiving a triggering signal from the surroundings. Subsequently, the DOPA-polymers were cross-linked using iron and thereby a self-healing material was obtained. The designed material has several other interesting properties, and may potentially find use as a tissue adhesive.

Source: iNANO /...

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