, Volume 10, Issue 2, pp 111-121
Date: 16 Feb 2008

Underwater Adhesive of Marine Organisms as the Vital Link Between Biological Science and Material Science

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Abstract

Marine sessile organisms naturally attach themselves to diverse materials in water by a technique that has so far remained unreproducible. Recent studies on the holdfast of marine sessile organisms have revealed natural concepts that are currently beyond our understanding with respect to the molecular design and macroscopic range. The combination of valuable and practical natural design of biotic adhesives as biomolecular materials, together with continuing efforts towards mimetic design, hold the promise of revolution for future materials. This review focuses on recent advances in the study of barnacle underwater cement, a protein complex whose constituents and the properties of individual components are being uncovered. A comparison is made with the model systems used by the mussel and tubeworm.