Friday, March 07, 2008

in praise of sea cucumbers

I have to admit that I wasn't aware of the amazing abilities of sea cucumbers until this story came up. Their skin is normally flexible, but in response to a stimulus it can get very stiff within a second.* Recent findings suggest it's the interaction between collagen fibres that is switched on and off.

Researchers in the US have now succeeded in mimicking this behaviour in a new material. Read my news story here (free access).

* Chinese traditional medicine has drawn the obvious conclusion from this and uses dried sea cucumber as an aphrodisiac! (according to the Wikipedia entry)

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