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Microbe holds fast

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12:42pm, April 25, 2006

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.

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