A common aquatic microbe makes a sticky substance that produces "the strongest biological adhesion ever discovered," says biophysicist Jay X. Tang of Brown University in Providence, R.I. The adhesive might lead scientists to new water-resistant glues.
The bacterium Caulobacter crescentus begins its life as a mobile, tail-sporting cell. As it matures, it loses its tail, or flagellum, and replaces it with a stalk that it uses to attach to rocks or other surfaces. The tip of the stalk secretes an adhesive made of sugars and proteins.