Researcher examines mussel (Mytilus sp.) threads

Researcher examines mussel (Mytilus sp.) threads

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This image is part of the feature Glue From Mussels

Credit: JAMES KING-HOLMES/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption: Mussel byssus threads. Dr Simon McQueen-Mason examining the byssus threads binding two mussels (Mytilus galloprovincialis) together. The byssus (beard) is composed of a water-resistant protein glue which binds the mussels to rocks. The glue is twice as strong as epoxy resins, and McQueen- Mason is conducting research into trying to create the protein in the laboratory. Most glues cannot bind wet surfaces, and the mussel protein could be used in medicine to stick broken bones and teeth back together. The protein does not elicit an immune response from the body, an essential feature of any medical substance. McQueen-Mason works at York University, England.

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