A quick couple of sentences on innovation, prompted by the research on oyster glue, described below.
Innovation needs smart people to look anew at old situations. It requires the asking of new questions about routine assumptions.
The Boston Police Gang Unit and some Probation Officers in the early 1990’s looked at mounting youth firearms deaths and asked, how can we prevent the next one? For decades up to that time question for the police was “who dunnit?” and for Probation, “how do I manage my pile of cases?”
Then they both asked the new question. David Kennedy joined them and thus was a revolution begun.
Prof. Wilker at Purdue was deep sea diving when powerful seas tossed him into an oyster-encrusted rock. He looked at one of nature’s commonplaces and wondered, why don’t the oysters get tossed by the force of the sea? What keeps them stuck to the rock?
Out of this asking a new question about oysters may come significant breakthroughs in surgery, industrial adhesives and detoxifying the process of maintain ships’ hulls. Not bad for just being curious about why oysters stick so well underwater to rocks and each other.
What routine phenomenon in your practice should you look at anew? What revolution can you start today?
Oyster Glue Could Hold Secret to Safer Surgery
By GreenerDesign Staff
WEST LAFAYETTE, IN — Researchers have discovered what makes up the cement-like adhesive that oysters use to stick together, paving the way for advances in less-harmful boat protection, medicine and construction.
Because oysters produce the adhesive to stick to one another, by understanding what the adhesive is made of, researchers can develop ways to prevent oysters from sticking to boats, develop adhesives that work in wet situations and help efforts to boost oyster populations.
A research team led by Purdue University professor Jonathan Wilker looked at the Eastern oyster, the most common type in the United States, and found that its adhesive is about 90 percent calcium carbonate, or chalk. The remaining amount is protein that is similar to the glue that mussels produce.
The researchers said the inorganic adhesive made by oysters is harder than the organic adhesives that mussels and barnacles use, making it more like cement, while the mussel adhesive is like a glue.
Knowing how oysters stick together can help understand how to keep them from sticking to boats. Current methods for keeping oysters and other species off of ships are a major expense and use toxic substances and copper-based paint, which can kill organisms’ larvae.
“If we could figure out a non-toxic a way to defeat the adhesives, we could keep them off ships without harming the environment,” said Wilker, who has worked on synthetic bioadhesives for more than a decade, said in a news release.
The development of adhesives that can set and hold in wet environments could also be beneficial for dentistry and medicine, where they could replace staples and sutures, leaving out the potential for infection.”