All I want for Christmas is… GLUE?!
This is Sandra Tsing Loh with the Loh Down on Science… saying
When you’re wrapping presents…don’t forget the tape! Too late? Maybe you can seal it with a kiss?
By which I mean… Mistletoe! Just a single berry can make over SIX FEET of a sticky thread called viscin. This helps seeds stick to trees.
Now enter Nils Horbelt and team from McGill University.
The researchers plucked out mistletoe seeds to see how sticky it was at different humidities.
Dry fibers were stiff and didn’t stay together. But moisture activated their stickiness. At forty percent humidity, the fibers absorbed water from the air, swelled up, and VOILA! Reversible superglue! These wet fibers could adhere to metals, plastics, AND glass.
Even just the humidity from our skin was enough to get viscin to stick their fingers together.
The researchers propose that viscin could be used as biodegradable bandages in the future.
Wait… We could have used BANDAGES to wrap these presents?! Humbug!
Reference: Horbelt, N., Fratzl, P., & Harrington, M. J. (2022). Mistletoe Viscin: A hygro- and Mechano-responsive cellulose-based adhesive for diverse material applications. PNAS Nexus, 1(1). https://doi.org/10.1093/pnasnexus/pgac026