Navigation Links
Sticky mussels inspire biomedical engineer yet again
Date:10/18/2007

EVANSTON, Ill. --- Mussels are delicious when cooked in a white wine broth, but they also have two other well-known qualities before theyre put in a pot: they stick to virtually all inorganic and organic surfaces, and they stick with amazing tenacity.

Northwestern University biomedical engineer Phillip B. Messersmith already has developed a material that mimics the strength of the bonds; now he has produced a versatile coating method that mimics the mussels ability to attach to a wide variety of objects.

Messersmith and his research team, in a study to be published in the Oct. 19 issue of the journal Science, report that a broad variety of materials can be coated and functionalized through the application of a surface layer of polydopamine.

Potential applications of the simple and inexpensive method include flexible electronics, such as bendable and flexible displays, biosensors, medical devices, marine anti-fouling coatings, and water processing and treatment, such as removing heavy metals from contaminated water.

Key to the coating method is the small molecule dopamine, commonly known as a neurotransmitter. Dopamine, it turns out, is a good mimic of the essential components of mussel adhesive proteins, and the researchers use it as a building block for polymer coatings. (Dopamine itself is not found in mussels.) So, like a mussel, Messersmiths coating sticks to anything.

This is an astonishingly simple and versatile approach to functional surface modification of materials, said Messersmith, professor of biomedical engineering at Northwesterns McCormick School of Engineering and Applied Science, who led the research. We dissolve dopamine, which we buy at low cost, in a beaker of water exposed to air. We adjust the waters pH to marine pH, about 8.5, put in an object and several hours later its coated with a thin film of polydopamine. Thats it.

Solid objects of any size and shape can be immersed in the solution. (The dopamine solution is very dilute -- only two milligrams of dopamine per one milliliter of water.) At marine pH, there are chemical changes in the dopamine molecule that result in polymerization of the molecules together to form a polymer, polydopamine, which coats the object. The polymer is fairly similar to what is found in the mussel adhesive protein.

And to make things more interesting, the polydopamine coating, in turn, provides a very chemically reactive surface onto which the researchers can deposit a second coating. And because the surface is so reactive in so many different ways, a wide variety of second coatings can be applied.

We take advantage of that reactivity to apply the second layer, said Messersmith. As a simple example, I could put an iPod in the dopamine solution, and a thin polydopamine coating would form. Then I could take it out and put it in a metal salt solution and form a coating of copper or silver.

This second coating, depending on what it is, promises to take researchers and industry in multiple directions as far as applications go. In addition to cladding objects with metal coatings, this includes inhibiting biofouling of materials (such as for medical devices), engineering surfaces to support biospecific interactions with cells (such as for culture and expansion of stem cells) and applying self-assembled monolayers to nonmetal surfaces (such as for biosensors).

Messersmith and his colleagues tested the two-step process on 25 different substrate materials (but not an iPod) with a wide range of characteristics representing all major classes of materials, from hydrophobic to hydrophilic, from inorganic to organic, as well as the traditionally difficult material Teflon, all with positive results. They then demonstrated deposition of metal and organic coatings and self-assembled monolayers onto the polydopamine coating.

Existing methods for modifying material surfaces are fairly restricted to specific materials -- what works well on glass would not work well on gold, said Messersmith. Our method is a much more general strategy for a variety of surfaces. We havent found a material to which we cant apply polydopamine.


'/>"/>

Contact: Megan Fellman
fellman@northwestern.edu
847-491-3115
Northwestern University
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology technology :

1. Biomedical engineering conference invites manufacturers
2. Manufacturing partnership will move into biotech and biomedical spaces
3. Biomedical Alliance about more than stem cells
4. Doyle seeks $2.5M for biomedical alliance
5. Students will show off biomedical devices to professors and investors
6. Biomedical alliance marks first full year
7. UW Biomedical Engineering awarded $2.9 million research grant
8. Having two biomedical tech centers in Wisconsin will help the state
9. New biomedical institute aims to unite business and academia in SE Wisconsin
10. Wisconsin publicly traded biomedical companies report gains this quarter
11. Re-engineering our economy to be sustainable and profitable
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/12/2016)... Biocom, the association representing the Southern ... San Diego companies to ... Medicine Advocacy Fly-In. Biocom Fly-In participants had the opportunity to ... the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the National ... Representatives Susan Davis and Scott Peters ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... , ... February 12, 2016 , ... ... Georgia World Congress Center in Atlanta, Georgia, will include 848 exhibitors (count as ... companies will be displaying products and services used by the scientific community in ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... , Feb. 12, 2016  BD (Becton, Dickinson and ... technology company, today announced the launch of the BD ... and Technology (AGBT) Meeting. --> ... genomic research by providing cost effective NGS library preparation ... a high-throughput, fully integrated, next generation sequencing (NGS) library ...
(Date:2/12/2016)... PLAINFIELD, N.J. , Feb. 12, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... announced the second annual STRIVE (Strategies to Realize ... Duchenne muscular dystrophy (DMD). STRIVE provides funds to ... programs that will make meaningful contributions to the ... or fostering development of future patient advocates. ...
Breaking Biology Technology:
(Date:1/22/2016)... , January 22, 2016 ... the addition of the  "Global Behavioral ... offering. --> http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ) ... "Global Behavioral Biometric Market 2016-2020"  report ... Research and Markets ( http://www.researchandmarkets.com/research/4lmf2s/global_behavioral ) has ...
(Date:1/20/2016)... LONDON , Jan. 20, 2016 A ... positioned to directly benefit from the explosion in genomics ... from Howe Sound Research. A range of dynamic trends ... ...... - personalized medicine - pharmacogenomics - pathogen ... economies with large markets - greater understanding of the ...
(Date:1/18/2016)... Jan. 18, 2016  Extenua Inc., a pioneering ... the use and access of ubiquitous on-premise and ... with American Cyber.  ... leading transformational C4ISR and Cyber initiatives in support ... latest proven technology solutions," said Steve Visconti ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):