Health

Mussels are Stimulating New Technology that could Help Purify Water and Clean Up Oil Spills

Mussels

Mussels are notorious naval stowaways known for damaging boat hulls, but they have extensive engineering applications for these same adhesive characteristics, researchers claim. They indicate that muscle thread chemistry inspires innovative engineering that addresses a broad variety of issues, from cleaning up oil spills to treating contaminated water.

RELATED: THE WORST OIL SPILL IN U.S. HISTORY CAUSED OVER $17 Billion IN GLOBAL DAMAGES

Mussels are able to survive in the ocean, withstanding waves and currents by attaching to rocks by relying on clusters of byssus threads made up of dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA).  The Chinese and U.S. scientists discovered DOPA can adhere to more than just rocks or the hull of boats as can dopamine, a molecule that is similar in structure to DOPA.  The scientists concluded that dopamine can create a universal coating for a variety of substrates which can be used for engineering and science.

“Mussels are broadly regarded as a nuisance in marine industries because they will colonize submerged surfaces,” said Hao-Cheng Yang a researcher at the School of Chemical Engineering and Technology at Sun Yat-sen University in China in the published report. “But from another point of view, the robust attachment of mussels on substrates under water has inspired a biomimetic strategy to realize strong adhesion between materials in water.” (Source)

A group of scientists in China have developed a universal red blood cell, which can be accepted by individuals of every blood type. It works by using mussel-inspired coatings to shelter the cell from detection by the body’s immune system.

Other research has succeeded in developing superior materials for separating oil and water, which could help to mitigate environmental damage to marine environments after oil spills.

A group of scientists in China have developed a universal red blood cell, which can be accepted by individuals of every blood type. It works by using mussel-inspired coatings to shelter the cell from detection by the body’s immune system.

Other research has succeeded in developing superior materials for separating oil and water, which could help to mitigate environmental damage to marine environments after oil spills.

Also, polymerized dopamine, a material inspired by mussels, is capable of removing heavy metals, organic pollutants and pathogens from wastewater. It can easily bind to contaminants with robust capture properties.

Researchers are working to find low-cost, stable and safe substitutes, according to the article.(Source)

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