The role of polymers in cross-kingdom bioadhesion

A. L. Morales-García, R. G. Bailey, S. Jana, J. G. Burgess

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


The secretion of extracellular polymeric substances provides an evolutionary advantage found in many organisms that can adhere to surfaces and cover themselves in a protective matrix. This ability is found in prokaryotes, archaea and eukaryotes, all of which use functionally similar polysaccharides, proteins and nucleic acids to form extracellular matrices, mucus and bioadhesive substances. These macromolecules have been investigated from the perspective of polymer biophysics, and theories to help understand adhesion, viscosity and gelling have been developed. These properties can be measured experimentally using straightforward methods such as cell counting as well as more advanced techniques such as atomic force microscopy and rheometry. An integrated understanding of the properties and uses of adhesive macromolecules across kingdoms is also important and can provide the basis for a range of biotechnological and medical applications. This article is part of the theme issue 'Transdisciplinary approaches to the study of adhesion and adhesives in biological systems'.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20190192
Number of pages9
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Issue number1784
Early online date9 Sept 2019
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 28 Oct 2019

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
J.G.B. thanks the NERC and the BBSRC for funding. R.G.B. acknowledges the Wellcome Trust and the Engineering and Physical Sciences Research Council (UK) (EPSRC) for funding. S.J. acknowledges funding from the EPSRC through award number EP/K039083/1 to Newcastle University.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 The Author(s) Published by the Royal Society. All rights reserved.


  • Adhesion
  • Atomic force microscopy
  • Bioadhesives
  • Extracellular polymeric substances
  • Mucus
  • Rheology


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of polymers in cross-kingdom bioadhesion'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this