Study sheds more light into secret strength of marine mussels

study sheds more light into secret strength of marine mussels – The News Mill

ANI Photo | Study sheds more light into secret strength of marine mussels

How can one establish sturdy, yet quickly releasing bonds between living and non-living tissues? Engineers in the field of biology who aim to create materials that merge together for advanced biological purposes are still puzzled by this issue.
The focus of the study led by McGill was on the byssus of marine mussels, a fibrous structure that these bivalve mollusks use to anchor themselves in coastal environments, drawing inspiration from nature. The root of the byssus is firmly attached inside the soft living tissue of the mussel, while the other end of the byssus adheres to rocky surfaces using an underwater adhesive. Professor Matthew Harrington from the Chemistry department at McGill University conducted a study on this biointerface–the point of interaction between living tissue and the non-living byssus stem root.
“Until now, it was perplexing how the byssus stem root biointerface could be strong enough to withstand constant crashing waves but also be rapidly released by the mussel as needed,” remarked Harrington. “It appeared as if the mussel could somehow regulate its strength.”
After a comprehensive investigation spanning multiple disciplines, the team discovered that the stem root separates into around 40-50 sheets called lamellae that interlock with the living tissue, creating an incredibly robust interface similar to interleaving two phone books together.
“The most surprising aspect is how this strength can be reduced through the rhythmic movements of countless tiny hair-like cilia on the surface of the living tissue. Cilia movement is controlled by the neurotransmitters serotonin and dopamine, enabling the rapid release of the entire stem root as required,” stated Harrington, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Green Chemistry.
This discovery holds particular significance for biomedical engineers and materials scientists as they envision the future of bio-implants, wearable sensors, brain-computer interface design, and more.
“The stem root biointerface is unlike anything observed in human-made materials and could provide valuable inspiration for the next generation of biointerfaces,” said Harrington. “Given that further medical advancements will rely on innovative biointe. (ANI)

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