Sandcastle Worm Bone Glue

The next time you break a bone, your doctor may just reach for the sandcastle worm. Actually, not the actual worm itself but a bone glue made by the animal:

The worm creates a complex water-based mortar to create a home from grains of sand and bits of shell. The adhesive can stick to wet surfaces and doesn't dissolve at certain pH levels, making it ideal for medical applications. Once it has done its job, it can become water-soluble and dissolve.

The traditional method of healing broken bones by using metal nails, pins and screws is difficult with smaller bones, says Russel Stewart, one of the creators of the synthetic sandcastle worm glue, and scientists have been looking for a suitable adhesive substitute for decades.


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