What is the strongest naturally occurring adhesive?
Try 3 issues of BBC Science Focus Magazine for £5!
Asked by: John Williams
The unofficial record is held by a harmless bacterium that lives in all sorts of freshwater environments, including tap water. Caulobacter crescentus (pictured above) attaches to underwater surfaces via a stalk-like structure that has an ultra-sticky adhesive at its tip, made from the sugars glucose, mannose and xylose.
According to measurements by US researchers, just one square centimetre of this natural glue could stick a 680kg weight (or a large cow) to a wet surface.
Dr Emma Davies is a science writer and editor with a PhD in food chemistry from the University of Leeds. She writes about all aspects of chemistry, from food and the environment to toxicology and regulatory science.
- Try your first 6 issues for just £9.99 when you subscribe to BBC Science Focus Magazine.
- Risk - free offer! Cancel at any time when you subscribe via Direct Debit.
- FREE UK delivery.
- Stay up to date with the latest developments in the worlds of science and technology.