Today’s Solutions: May 30, 2023

When someone says the word mistletoe, images of kissing at Christmas automatically spring to mind. But what if we told you that the berries from this festive plant can be used for much more than just locking lips? Ancient civilizations have featured these berries in a wide variety of medicines, including treatments for cancer, epilepsy, and infertility.

Researchers from McGill University and the Max Planck Institute of Colloids and Interfaces recently published a paper exploring a new application of the plant. Through simple processing, mistletoe can be transformed into a biodegradable and bio-renewable glue – called viscin – with a range of impressive applications.

Senior author Matthew Harrington actually stumbled across this discovery by chance. He explained: “I had never seen mistletoe before living in Germany. So, when my daughter was playing with a berry from a mistletoe we bought from a local Christmas market, and it started sticking to everything, I was intrigued.”

Viscin is composed of fibers that firmly attach themselves together as well as to a wide range of materials when wet, including anything from bones, to wood, to feathers, to skin. The glue can also be stretched into a thin film and assembled into 3D layers, sparking interest in possible uses as a wound sealant.

“The fact that viscin can adhere to both wood and skin or feathers, may be relevant evolutionarily speaking,” adds Harrington. “But it’s harder to explain adherence to various synthetic surfaces, such as plastics, glass, and metal alloys, from an adaptive point of view. So viscin may simply represent highly versatile adhesion chemistry, which is what makes it so interesting to explore what is going on chemically.”

Not only is mistletoe glue strong but also highly accessible, with these plants being in abundance and the processing steps from plant to glue being relatively straightforward. All of this points to the impressive plants being much more than a holiday ornament in the future.

Source study: PNAS NexusMistletoe viscin: a hygro- and mechano-responsive cellulose-based adhesive for diverse material applications

Solutions News Source Print this article
More of Today's Solutions

On the road to mental health: 3 tips for men who have no idea how to start th...

When it comes to entering the world of therapy, guys are frequently lost, unsure of where to begin. They may have the desire to ...

Read More

Being human together

The African equivalent to Rene Descartes’s famous dictum, “I think, therefore I am,” which is the foundation of much modern Western culture, is called ...

Read More

Five steps for making your clothes last as long as possible

The clothes we wear can make us feel confident and help us express our inner selves. Unfortunately, our culture of fast fashion produces these ...

Read More

How ketamine can help fight depression

Quick acting aid A recent review from the University of Exeter, has shown that the sedative drug ketamine, has therapeutic effects in regards to ...

Read More