Here’s Why The Navy Is After This Fish’s Slimy Snot

news
U.S. Navy photo by Ron Newsome

Navy researchers are looking in an unlikely place for new technology: at the bottom of the ocean where the hagfish lives. The reason the Navy is interested in the primitive eel-looking creature has to do with its defense mechanism: Slime.


The hagfish, often referred to as the slime eel, creates a slimy substance that rapidly expands under water and allows it to escape from predators by clogging its attacker’s gills. Think of an octopus’ ink, except this is a giant cloud of snot that chokes a predator. Disgusting, but effective.

It’s this slime that has the Navy’s interest because of what it might let them do.

Dr. Ryan Kincer demonstrates the elasticity of the hagfish slime secreted from the the Pacific hagfish within the net aboard Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) Nov. 29, 2016.U.S. Navy photo by Ron Newsome

According to the Virginian-Pilot, a research team in Panama City, Florida, has re-created the slime and now is working on turning it into something useable. Some of the ideas in the works include making a material that helps protect firefighters and divers, creating an anti-shark spray, or coating ships to protect against barnacles, algae, and other aquatic life.

Related: Bomb The Whales? Air Force Weapons-Test Plan Under Fire »

While the Navy tries to figure out what it’ll do with the slime, one problem they won’t have to deal with is how to replicate it, because as it turns out it’s very simple.

Researchers at the Naval Surface Warfare Center in Panama City used the Pacific hagfish in their study, because its slime is a combination of two proteins and saltwater. To create the proteins the researchers grew them in separate petri dishes filled with E. coli bacteria, then isolated and purified them, before combining them in a centrifuge.

Naval Surface Warfare Center Panama City Division (NSWC PCD) scientist and engineers compare synthetic hagfish slime (left) and authentic Pacific hagfish slime (right) aboard NSWC PCD Nov. 29 2016. Pictured form left to right: Dr. Josh Kogot, Dr. Michelle Kincer, Dr. Ryan Kincer.U.S. Navy photo by Ron Newsome

"What's fascinating to me is just how simple in the grand scheme of things this system is,” Josh Kogot, a biochemist at Naval Surface Warfare Center said in an interview with the Virginian-Pilot. “It's really a two-protein system with seawater, and it's able to be this strong and expansive. It can expand 10,000 times in volume in milliseconds."

Depending on how the research goes, divers in the future may be swimming around in suits made coated with a layer of hagfish slime, which sounds disgusting, but is also kind of cool.

Casperassets.rbl.ms

Benjamin Franklin nailed it when he said, "Fatigue is the best pillow." True story, Benny. There's nothing like pushing your body so far past exhaustion that you'd willingly, even longingly, take a nap on a concrete slab.

Take $75 off a Casper Mattress and $150 off a Wave Mattress with code TASKANDPURPOSE

And no one knows that better than military service members and we have the pictures to prove it.

Read More Show Less
U.S. Coast Guard Petty Officer 2nd Class Karl Munson pilots a 26-foot boat while Petty Officer 2nd Class Gabriel Diaz keeps an eye on a boarding team who is inspecting a 79-foot shrimp boat in the Gulf of Mexico, off the coast of New Orleans, La., on April 27, 2005

Radio transmissions to the U.S. Coast Guard are usually calls for help from boaters, but one captain got on the radio recently just to say thanks to the men and women who are currently working without pay.

Read More Show Less
REUTERS/Carlos Barria

DOVER AIR FORCE BASE, Del (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump traveled to Dover Air Force Base in Delaware on Saturday to receive the remains of four Americans killed in a suicide bombing in northern Syria.

Trump, locked in a battle with congressional Democrats that has led to a nearly month-long partial government shutdown, announced his trip via a pre-dawn tweet, saying he was going "to be with the families of 4 very special people who lost their lives in service to our Country!"

Read More Show Less

A low-flying C-17 gave Nashville residents a fright on Friday when the aircraft made several unannounced passes over the city's bustling downtown.

Read More Show Less
George W. Bush/Instagram

This article originally appeared on Business Insider.

Former President George W. Bush is calling for an end to the partial government shutdown, which is about to hit the one-month mark and is currently the longest shutdown in US history.

In an appeal made on Instagram, the 43rd president called on "leaders on both sides to put politics aside, come together, and end this shutdown." The caption was posted with an image of him and former First Lady Laura Bush giving pizza to their Secret Service detail.

Read More Show Less