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Underwater silk adhesive might close wounds

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.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010 | 10:05:25 AM IST (+05:30 GMT)
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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.

Copyright : Indo-Asian News Service
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