Apropos K

Learning from mother nature

Stiff fibres spun from slime

Slimy hunting weapon: Velvet worms, which look like caterpillars with short legs, capture prey with a secretion that forms polymer threads as the prey struggles to free itself. Images (2): Alexander Bär / Nature Communications 2017

Slimy mix of proteins and fatty acids

Soluble polymer fibres: The slime of velvet worms contains nanoglobules made up of lipids and proteins. Shear forces cause the proteins to form fibres covered by a fatty layer. The fibres can dissolve in water again to release the original nanoparticles, from which the polymer can form again.

Polymerized threads dissolve in water again

How are proteins and lipid molecules separated?