Microscopic image of a mussel's byssal cuticle (Image courtesy Susann Weichold)
A mussel displaying its byssus (Image courtesy Matt Harrington)
If you’ve ever gone down to the seashore and tried to pull mussels off rocks (and hey, who hasn’t?), then you’ll know how tenacious their holdfasts can be - although they can be tugged back and forth, it’s almost impossible to actually remove them. Recently, scientists at Germany’s Max Planck Institute for Colloids and Interfaces analyzed how the delicious mollusks are able to to achieve such a feat of natural engineering. What they discovered could find its way into human technology.
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