Byssal threads of marine mussels form quickly via liquid crystal phase proteins.
"In marine mussels (Mytilus), byssal threads are made in minutes from prefabricated smectic polymer liquid crystals by a process resembling reaction injection molding. The mesogens in these arrays are known to be natural block copolymers with rodlike collagen cores." (Hassenkam et al. 2004:1351)
Learn more about this functional adaptation.
- Hassenkam, T.; Gutsmann, T.; Hansma, P.; Sagert, J.; Waite, J. H. 2004. Giant Bent-Core Mesogens in the Thread Forming Process of Marine Mussels. Biomacromolecules. 5(4): 1351-1355.
- Lee H; Dellatore SM; Miller WM; Messersmith PB. 2007. Mussel-Inspired Surface Chemistry for Multifunctional Coatings. Science. 318(5849): 426.
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