Many organisms, ranging from bacteria and fungi to those much larger animals and plants use chemical and mechanical means to attach permanently or temporarily to surfaces. Some bioadhesives have advantages over synthetic counterparts in terms of their ability to function over a wide temperature range, in wet or dry environments, and to form stable bonds within seconds to all manner of substrata, even those with challenging surface coatings.
Knowledge about these materials, in terms of composition, structural design and interactions with surfaces, is necessary to reveal the basic biochemical and mechanical principles involved in biological adhesion.
The recently established COST Action CA15216 "European Network of Bioadhesion Expertise: Fundamental Knowledge to Inspire Advanced Bonding Technologies" (ENBA; http://www.cost.eu/COST_Actions/ca/CA15216) will unite the widespread European expertise in the field of biological adhesives (spanning biology, physics, chemistry, and engineering) by streamlining and pooling knowledge, methods and techniques, and will focus activities by avoiding duplication of efforts, decreasing research costs and accelerating scientific and technological progress in Europe.
ENBA will provide cooperative framework for characterization and understanding of bioadhesives` structural and molecular organization and function, and for determination of circumstances and surface properties required for bonding. Artificial structures and chemical analogues shall be designed, and performance and properties of these biomimetic systems will be analyzed in order to provide a better understanding of their key characteristics.
The bottom-up approach of ENBA, integrating universities, applied research organizations and industry into an holistic program providing technical and scientific progress in understanding the fundamentals of natural bonding principles and test these natural systems in vitro. Knowledge achieved in ENBA would certainly have a major impact on European academia, and industrial competitiveness in the field of adhesion, nanotechnology, biomaterial and biotechnology and raise public awareness of the diversity of bioadhesives and their impact for technical applications in the future.