Shark Week – Part 3

Rough, biting shark skin

Proto-teeth bound up in flesh

Always squeaky-clean

Besides giving sharks a smooth ride through the water by increasing hydrodynamics, the tooth like denticle scales that cover shark skin have been revealed to have another purpose, one that could benefit humans. Sharks are notoriously clean animals. They don’t have growths of barnacles like the large whales or sea turtles and neither do they tend to carry microbial life. Researchers are looking at this as a promising source of biologically inspired technologies to keep pathogenic organisms from spreading. By mimicking the diamond like pattern the denticles form it is possible to create an antimicrobial  barrier that is thin enough to cover surfaces in hospitals, public places, etc. The big benefit comes from reduction of caustic chemical disinfectants and, hopefully, slowing the use of antibiotics that lead to so called, “super-bugs” such as MRSA. The material could theoretically  be used on ship hulls and other underwater surfaces to protect them from Biofouling organisms without using paints laced with harmful compounds.

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2 Responses to Shark Week – Part 3

  1. Know anything about the skin microbiome of sharks?

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