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The glue of sea cucumber Cuvierian tubules: a novel marine bioadhesive
Flammang, P. (2003). The glue of sea cucumber Cuvierian tubules: a novel marine bioadhesive, in: Colliec-Jouault, S. et al. (Ed.) Marine biotechnology: an overview of leading fields. IXth ESMB meeting, Nantes, 12-14 May 2002. Actes de Colloques - IFREMER, 36: pp. 176-185
In: Colliec-Jouault, S. et al. (Ed.) (2003). Marine biotechnology: an overview of leading fields. IXth ESMB meeting, Nantes, 12-14 May 2002. Actes de colloques - IFREMER, 36. IFREMER: Plouzané, France. ISBN 2-84433-115-7. 185 pp., more
In: Actes de Colloques - IFREMER. Institut Français de Recherche pour l'Exploitation de la Mer (IFREMER): Brest. ISSN 0761-3962, more
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  • Flammang, P., more

Abstract
    Several species of sea cucumbers possess a very peculiar and specialized defence system: the so-called Cuvierian tubules. It is mobilized when the animal is mechanically stimulated, resulting in the discharge of a few white filaments, the tubules. In seawater, the expelled tubules considerably lengthen and become sticky upon contact to any object. The great adhesivity of the outer epithelium combined with the high tenacity of the collagenous core makes Cuvierian tubules very efficient at entangling and immobilizing most potential predators. The fact that Cuvierian tubules are able to form strong adhesive bonds in a few seconds to a variety of substrata suggests that their glue could offer novel features or performance characteristics for applications as underwater adhesives. This paper compares some recent data on the mechanical and biochemical properties of the adhesive from holothuroid Cuvierian tubules with the properties of the adhesives from other marine invertebrates. The adhesive of Cuvierian tubules stands apart from every other marine invertebrate adhesive described so far by its gross biochemical composition as well as by the amino acid composition of its protein fraction. Yet, the adhesive strength of this organ falls within the range of tenacities measured for other adhesive systems. Cuvierian tubules could therefore be an interesting model system in the search for a novel bioadhesive with biotechnological applications.

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