Washington, March 2 (IANS) Like silkworm moths, butterflies and spiders, caddisfly larvae spin silk, but they do so underwater. Now scientists are trying to make a wet adhesive out of it to close wounds.
University of Utah (U-U) researchers have discovered why the fly's silk is sticky when wet and how that may make it valuable as an adhesive tape during surgery.
'Silk from caddisfly larvae - known to western fly fishermen as 'rock rollers' - may be useful some day as a medical bioadhesive for sticking to wet tissues,' says Russell Stewart, U-U associate professor of bioengineering.
'I picture it as sort of a wet Band-Aid, maybe used internally in surgery - like using a piece of tape to close an incision as opposed to sutures,' he adds.
'Gluing things together underwater is not easy. Have you ever tried to put a Band-Aid on in the shower? This insect has been doing this for 150 million to 200 million years,' Stewart adds.
The study is set for publication this week in Biomacromolecules, a journal of the American Chemical Society.