August 28, 2009

Invasive mussel studied for stickiness

The invasive green mussel has a powerful form of adhesion in its foot that could be copied to form synthetic adhesives, scientists in California said.

The mussel, formally known as Perna viridis, has a sticky adhesive with a chemistry far more complicated than mussels studied previously, said J. Herbert Waite, a professor at the Marine Science Institute of the University of California, Santa Barbara.

During six years of study, Waite and his team determined the green mussel's stickiness has the potential to form strong bonds on wet surfaces such as teeth and bone, and it could be used to repair cracks in ships at sea in a wet environment, the Institute said in a release Friday.

Waite studied green mussels from Tampa Bay, Fla., just one of thousands of places around the world infested with the mussel, which originated in India's Sea of Bengal.