Synthetic Hagfish Slime Offers New Protection

Synthetic Hagfish Slime Offers New Protection
The U.S. Navy has created a synthetic hagfish slime that could have applications from ballistics defense to anti-shark spray.

The hagfish produces its slime to obstruct the gills of predators, and is made up of two protein-based components—a mucin and a thread. According to Dr. Ryan Kincer, the thread is coiled tightly to unravel on contact with water, while the mucin binds to the seawater to create a “visoelastic network,” that can expand to up to 10,000 times its original volume.

The synthetic slime was created by using E. coli to produce alpha and gamma proteins, which were then combined and assembled to form a crosslinking section that reacts similarly to natural slime. According to the team, the lab-made slime was made with the goal of offering a non-lethal and non-kinetic defense for military personnel.

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