ST. LUCIA, Australia (Oct. 17) — Scientists are tapping insects to create better rubber, according to the international journal "Nature."
A springy molecule, called resilin, that gives fleas the ability to jump and is found in a range of insects, is more resilient than any other rubber around today, Chris Elvin, a biochemist at CSIRO Livestock Industries in St. Lucia, said in the publication. He led the team that created a synthetic resilin, which is a rubbery protein.
The molecule´s resistance indicates it can be stretched over and over without losing its elastic properties, the scientists reported. Elvin said the synthetic resin worked on the first attempt to create it.
The team has come up with a list of possible applications for the material, but it´s presently focused on creating replacements for spinal discs, the spongy material that lies between bones and the spine.