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Research Foundation

Peptide Structures, Adhesive Performance, and Gelling Properties

Reference Number: 03-19

Inventors: John Tomich, Susan Sun, Xinchun Shen, Takeo Iwamoto


Research at Kansas State University has produced a novel peptide adhesive that may be used in medical applications that requires no receptor or cross-linkers to achieve maximal adhesive strength. The adhesive peptides self aggregate and interact with the surface where the adhesive strength reflects contributions of both hydrogen bonding and van der Waals interactions. Seven peptides with different degrees of adhesive strength have been designed and synthesized using solid phase chemistries. All peptides contain a common hydrophobic sequence flanked by positively or negatively charged amino acids sequences.


These novel peptide adhesives may potentially be used for:

  • Medical applications
  • Peptides self-aggregate and can be used as a gelling agent
  • Large amounts of an adhesive can be produced through genetically modified crops, such as soybean, for protein polymer production for adhesive and other industrial and medical products
  • Large amounts of protein polymers can be obtained for adhesives or gelling agent or other possible high value uses based on the peptide structure using biosynthesis, fermentation, and polymerization technologies. The method could be useful tool to identify functional groups and key structures of proteins for adhesive, gelling agent, and other products
  • This peptide can serve as the starting point for the introduction of the functionalities that would allow the peptide to undergo spontaneous cross-linking. This added feature should raise the adhesive strength as well as greatly improve wet strength

The following are potential advantages of this technology over existing technology:

  • Biobased adhesive that may allow safe use in medical applications
  • High adhesive strength
  • Inexpensive to synthesize due to very short peptide length
  • Provides the opportunity for the rational design of adhesive, based on the environment where they will be used (ie., water based vs no water – Degree of hydrophobicity)
  • Anticipated that the adhesive can be prepared as a sol-gel solution. Potentially used as a matrix (functional scaffold) upon which cells could be seeded
Patent Status
  • U.S. patent #7,745,570 issued on June 29, 2010.

Kansas State University Research Foundation seeks to have discussions with companies that are interested in licensing and/or research collaborations.

Interested parties should contact:

Kansas State University Institute for Commercialization (KSU-IC)
2005 Research Park Circle Manhattan, KS 66502
Tel: 785-532-3900 Fax: 785-532-3909