December 23, 2009
Spider Web Glue Could Help Bring New Biobased Adhesives
With would-be goblins and ghosts set to drape those huge fake spider webs over doorways and trees for Halloween, scientists in Wyoming are reporting on a long-standing mystery about real spider webs: It is the secret of spider web glue. The findings are an advance toward a new generation of biobased adhesives and glues "” "green" glues that replace existing petroleum-based products for a range of uses. A report on the study was published in ACS' Biomacromolecules, a monthly journal.
Omer Choresh and colleagues note that much research has been done on spider web silk, which rivals steel in its strength. However, scientists know comparatively little about web glue, which coats the silk threads and is among the world's strongest biological glues. Past studies revealed that spiders make web glue from glycoproteins, or proteins bits of sugar attached.
Image Caption: A sticky substance in spider webs may lead to the development of a new generation of biobased adhesives and glues that could replace some petroleum-based products. Credit: Randolph Femmer, National Biological Information Infrastructure
On the Net:
- American Chemical Society
- Article: Spider Web Glue: Two Proteins Expressed from Opposite Strands of the Same DNA Sequence