Comparative Animal Mucomics: Inspiration for Functional Materials from Ubiquitous and Understudied Biopolymers

Antonio R. Cerullo, Tsoi Ying Lai, Bassem Allam, Alexander Baer, W. Jon P. Barnes, Zaidett Barrientos, Dimitri D. Deheyn, Douglas S. Fudge, John Gould, Matthew J. Harrington, Mandë Holford, Chia Suei Hung, Gaurav Jain, Georg Mayer, Mónica Medina, Julian Monge-Nájera, Tanya Napolitano, Emmanuelle Pales Espinosa, Stephan Schmidt, Eric M. ThompsonAdam B. Braunschweig

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

9 Scopus citations


The functions of secreted animal mucuses are remarkably diverse and include lubricants, wet adhesives, protective barriers, and mineralizing agents. Although present in all animals, many open questions related to the hierarchical architectures, material properties, and genetics of mucus remain. Here, we summarize what is known about secreted mucus structure, describe the work of research groups throughout the world who are investigating various animal mucuses, and relate how these studies are revealing new mucus properties and the relationships between mucus hierarchical structure and hydrogel function. Finally, we call for a more systematic approach to studying animal mucuses so that data sets can be compared, omics-style, to address unanswered questions in the emerging field of mucomics. One major result that we anticipate from these efforts is design rules for creating new materials that are inspired by the structures and functions of animal mucuses.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5377-5398
Number of pages22
JournalACS Biomaterials Science and Engineering
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 12 2020

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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