Adhesives Can Be Produced From Bee Spit and Flower Oils

Adhesives Can Be Produced From Bee Spit and Flower Oils

Researchers from Georgia Institute of Technology discovered a new process of making a bioinspired glue based from the pollination process of bees. When bees collect pollen, they mix their spit with the flower oils in order to attach the pollens into their hind legs. This type of adhesive is able to withstand a range of conditions.

In a study by the Nature Communications journal released last 26th of March, the researchers have described how the two natural liquids work together. The first and main ingredient in the adhesive is the salivary secretions of the bee. This coats the pollen grains allowing them to stick together. The second ingredient is the plant-based oil that coats the pollen grains called pollenkitt. The pollenkitt stabilizes the adhesive properties of the nectar and protects it from the impact of either too much or too little humidity.

According to Meredith, a professor in Georgia Tech’s School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, the adhesive works similarly to a layer of cooking oil covering pool of syrup, where the oil separates the syrup from the air as the air accelarates the drying of the syrup. When examining about how the bees are able to remove the pollen, Meredith mentioned the capillary adhesion property. Capillary adhesion is the property where an object is forcefully removed, the harder the object sticks.

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