Cracking Open Oysters

Cracking Open Oysters

Author: David Bradley

US researchers lead by Jonathan Wilker, Purdue University, have identified the natural adhesive produced by the common eastern oyster, Crassostrea virginica. The cement is 90 % calcium carbonate and 10 % protein with a dash of iron. The 10 % is similar to mussel glue, but oyster cement is much harder than that of mussels or barnacles.

Understanding oyster cement could help chemists make novel materials for keeping boat hulls clear of shellfish without harming the environment. It might also help in making synthetic wet-setting adhesives for medical applications and in the construction industry.

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