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The role of polymers in cross-kingdom bioadhesion

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Ana Morales Garcia, Dr Richard Bailey, Dr Saikat Jana, Professor Grant Burgess


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The secretion of extracellular polymeric substances provides an evolutionary advantage found in many organisms that can adhere to surfaces and cover themselves in a protective matrix. This ability is found in prokaryotes, archaea and eukaryotes, all of which use functionally similar polysaccharides, proteins and nucleic acids to form extracellular matrices, mucus and bioadhesive substances. These macromolecules have been investigated from the perspective of polymer biophysics, and theories to help understand adhesion, viscosity and gelling have been developed. These properties can be measured experimentally using straightforward methods such as cell counting as well as more advanced techniques such as atomic force microscopy and rheometry. An integrated understanding of the properties and uses of adhesive macromolecules across kingdoms is also important and can provide the basis for a range of biotechnological and medical applications. This article is part of the theme issue 'Transdisciplinary approaches to the study of adhesion and adhesives in biological systems'.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Morales-Garcia AL, Bailey RG, Jana S, Burgess JG

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Philosophical transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological sciences

Year: 2019

Volume: 374

Issue: 1784

Pages: 20190192

Online publication date: 09/09/2019

Acceptance date: 06/06/2019

ISSN (print): 0962-8436

ISSN (electronic): 1471-2970

Publisher: royal society


DOI: 10.1098/rstb.2019.0192

PubMed id: 31495316


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