If rolling around in the muck isn’t your thing, you might want to skip this one. It’s all about the slime. Fish and slug slime, that is.
At recent scientific meetings, researchers detailed their discoveries about the two types of creature excretions that could yield new antibiotics and medical adhesives, respectively.
Attendees at the Experimental Biology meeting last week in Orlando, Fla., heard the tale of the Arion subfuscus (commonly known as the Dusky Arion slug), whose gluey slime mucks up the mouths of its predators. The glue’s super-strength has long intrigued researchers, and the latest insights may lead to new adhesives.
“Understanding the roles of adhesive proteins in the slug glue would aid in the creation of a medical adhesive that can move and stretch yet still retain its strength and adhesiveness,” Rebecca Falconer, an undergrad researcher at Ithaca College who conducted one of the studies, said in a news release.
Meanwhile, other researchers presented findings at the American Chemical Society spring meeting in Orlando that fish slime, specifically the mucus that coats fish and helps protect them from dangers in their watery world, could hold a secret weapon against MRSA and other pathogens.
Of the 47 types of bacteria found in the slime, five “strongly inhibited” MRSA, according to a news release, and three had the same effect on Candida albicans, a fungus behind yeast infections.
“Fish mucus is really interesting because the environment the fish live in is complex,” said Molly Austin, an undergraduate chemistry student at Oregon State University who conducted some of the studies. “They are in contact with their environment all the time with many pathogenic viruses.”