Bacterial glue: The stuff that binds? | Science News

ADVERTISEMENT

MISSION CRITICAL

Support credible science journalism.

Subscribe to Science News today.


News

Bacterial glue: The stuff that binds?

By
7:07pm, August 17, 2004

A sticky slime secreted by bacteria could soon find its way into a host of wood products, such as plywood and particleboard. Wisconsin scientists discovered the natural adhesive while investigating the fermentation of alfalfa to make ethanol fuel.

Paul Weimer of the Department of Agriculture's Dairy Forage Research Center in Madison and his colleagues looked at two species of bacteria. Ruminococcus albus lives in the rumina of cows, and Clostridium thermocellum is widespread in the environment. The bacteria cling to the alfalfa's cellulose fibers and release enzymes that degrade them. A slimy, protein-based secretion from the microbes' cell walls keeps the bacteria stuck to the fibers.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join the Society today or Log in.

Get Science News headlines by e-mail.

More from Science News

From the Nature Index Paid Content