How marine mussels grip rocks: Iron atoms convey mussel fibers with a robust but stretchy covering

Monday, March 29, 2010 - 11:28 in Paleontology & Archaeology

Researchers believe they have uncovered the basis how marine mussels use the byssus, a bundle of tough and extensible fibers, to fasten securely to wave-swept rocky coastlines. According to their findings, local accumulation of iron-mediated cross-links creates hard knobs within an extensible matrix containing much fewer of these molecular bridges. Such a design could be an interesting concept for developing novel abrasion-resistant, highly extensible coatings.

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