An Adhesive Secreted by Australian Frogs of the Genus Notaden

  • Lloyd D. Graham
  • Veronica Glattauer
  • Yong Y. Peng
  • Paul R. Vaughan
  • Jerome A. Werkmeister
  • Michael J. Tyler
  • John A. M. RamshawEmail author


When provoked, the Australian fossorial frog Notaden bennettii secretes from its dorsal skin an exudate which rapidly forms a tacky elastic hydrogel. This protein-based material acts as a promiscuous pressure-sensitive adhesive which works even in wet conditions. The largest protein, Nb-1R, is rich in Gly, Pro/Hyp and Glx and appears to be the key structural component; it probably contains extensive segments of intrinsic disorder along with some well-folded domains. Indeed, the material properties of adhesive secretions from both amphibians (vertebrates) and onychophorans (invertebrates) may rely upon large proteins containing long and intrinsically unstructured regions composed of imperfect tandem repeats. Although the N. bennettii secretion contains sterols, carotenoids and other undesirable metabolites, in vitro, ex vivo and in vivo studies suggest that the structural matrix of the set glue is highly biocompatible. Its open porous structure is likely to encourage cell infiltration, and glue pellets implanted subcutaneously in mice were fully resorbed by the surrounding tissues within two months. Ex vivo studies in sheep showed that the frog glue bonded meniscal tears more strongly than traditional protein-based medical glues, while conventional tendon attachment repairs were approximately doubled in strength when augmented with the frog adhesive. Overall, the properties of the frog glue suggest that a recombinant mimic would have great potential for medical applications.


Meniscal Tear Meniscal Repair Peel Strength Skin Secretion Meniscal Fragment 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



The authors wish to thank Joel Mackay (Sydney University) for the CD spectrum; Raju Adhikari, Lawry McCarthy, Helmut Thissen and Tony Cripps (CSIRO) for the help with the adhesive strength tests; and Graham Johnson and Meg Evans (CSIRO) for the bovine corneal organ culture and epithelial cell culture tests.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Lloyd D. Graham
    • 1
  • Veronica Glattauer
    • 2
  • Yong Y. Peng
    • 2
  • Paul R. Vaughan
    • 2
  • Jerome A. Werkmeister
    • 2
  • Michael J. Tyler
    • 3
  • John A. M. Ramshaw
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.CSIRO AlumnusNorth EppingAustralia
  2. 2.Ian Wark LaboratoryCSIRO ManufacturingClayton SouthAustralia
  3. 3.School of Earth and Environmental Sciences, University of AdelaideAdelaideAustralia

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