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Exploring proteins from insect larvae for the production of a bioadhesive


The demand for biocompatible, biodegradable, and environmentally friendly adhesives has increased greatly in recent years, but no industrial use of these substances is currently in sight. The caddisfly larva is now moving into the centre of interest. It excretes various high-quality, sticky secretions that can bond different materials underwater, and remain insoluble in water after excretion.

These differ in their duration of action as well as in the materials they bind, and function as single- or multi-component adhesives. Researchers from Upper Franconia and Southern Bohemia are now investigating.

The Bavarian-Czech border region is one of the regions that is home primarily to traditional industries. But these are undergoing massive structural change. The introduction of modern industries such as biotechnology is therefore important for the future of the region. The EU is supporting this strategy with its ERDF European Regional Development Fund in interregional programmes called INTERREG.

In Upper Franconia and South Bohemia, it can build on excellent research institutions: Experts in polymer and material sciences conduct research at the University of Bayreuth, while researchers at the AVCR Biological Centre in Ceské Budejovice specialise in the life sciences.

Both groups will now work closely in researching bioadhesive proteins produced by insect larvae in water bodies. "After suitable protein candidates have been identified by the Czech working group, they will be produced and further processed in Bayreuth biotechnologically, i.e. without caddis flies, in scalable fermentation processes using bacteria, which will provide a basis for later industrial use," says Prof. Dr. Thomas Scheibel, Chair of Biomaterials at the University of Bayreuth.

Prof. Zurovec from the scientific department in Cesky Budejovice adds: "We wish to show that there is a huge range of natural adhesives with a number of unique properties. The project will include the release of results to the broad public, and a photo exhibition at both workplaces."

Two joint teams will be formed as part of the project. The first - led by the AVCR Biological Centre - is to be responsible for providing and processing natural materials, including samples taken near Ceské Budejovice and Bayreuth (Fichtelgebirge). The second team - led by the Biomaterials research group in Bayreuth - will focus on biotechnological production.

Source: University of Bayreuth