Neutral glycans from sandfish skin can reduce friction of polymers
Sprache des Titels:
The lizard Scincus scincus, also known as sandfish, can move through aeolian desert sand in a swimming-like manner. A prerequisite for this ability is a special integument, i.e. scales with a very low friction for sand and a high abrasion resistance. Glycans in the scales are causally related to the low friction. Here, we analysed the glycans and found that neutral glycans with five to nine mannose residues are important. If these glycans were covalently bound to acrylic polymers like poly(methyl methacrylate) or acrylic car coatings at a density of approximately one molecule per 4 nm², friction for and adhesion of sand particles could be reduced to levels close to those observed with sandfish scales. This was also found true, if the glycans were isolated from sources other than sandfish scales like plants such as almonds or mistletoe. We speculate that these neutral glycans act as low density spacers separating sand particles from the dense scales thereby reducing van der Waals forces.