Gut microbes and humans on a joint evolutionary journey

The human gut microbiome is composed of thousands of different bacteria and archaea that vary widely between populations and individuals. Scientists from the Max Planck Institute for Biology in Tübingen have now discovered ...

New key protection against COVID-19 found in saliva

The novel coronavirus (SARS-CoV-2) has spread around the world at an unprecedented rate, evading containment countermeasures. Understanding the mechanisms by which SARS-CoV-2 successfully evades the body's defense systems ...

Enzyme in human salivary microbes decomposes PET-based plastics

Human saliva may contain an enzyme which can decompose the plastic polyethylene terephthalate (PET). Researchers found the promising enzyme, a hydrolase, in a database containing human metagenome samples. As they report in ...

New, non-invasive blood sugar testing methods using saliva

Despite breakthrough diabetes research over the past century, people with diabetes still need to rely on obtaining blood samples to monitor their sugar levels. Daily glucose monitoring by tracking blood sugar levels is essential ...

Licking a Tootsie Roll sensor to monitor health

Single-use diagnostic tests often aren't practical for health professionals or patients in resource-limited areas, where cost and waste disposal are big concerns. So, researchers reporting in ACS Applied Materials & Interfaces ...

New device can diagnose COVID-19 from saliva samples

Engineers at MIT and Harvard University have designed a small tabletop device that can detect SARS-CoV-2 from a saliva sample in about an hour. In a new study, they showed that the diagnostic is just as accurate as the PCR ...

Harnessing next generation sequencing to detect SARS-CoV-2

Researchers at the Vienna BioCenter designed a testing protocol for SARS-CoV-2 that can process tens of thousands of samples in less than 48 hours. The method, called SARSeq, is published in the journal Nature Communications ...

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Saliva

Saliva (also referred to as spit , spittle or slobber) is the watery and usually frothy substance produced in the mouths of humans and most other animals. Saliva is produced in and secreted from the salivary glands. Human saliva is composed mostly of water, but also includes electrolytes, mucus, antibacterial compounds, and various enzymes. As part of the initial process of food digestion, the enzymes in the saliva break down some of the starch and fat in the food at the molecular level. Saliva also breaks down food caught in the teeth, protecting them from bacteria that cause decay. Furthermore, saliva lubricates and protects the teeth, the tongue, and the tender tissues inside the mouth. Saliva also plays an important role in tasting food by trapping thiols produced from odourless food compounds by anaerobic bacteria living in the mouth.

Various species have evolved special uses for saliva that go beyond predigestion. Some swifts use their gummy saliva to build their nests. Some Aerodramus swiftlet nests are made only from saliva and used to make bird's nest soup. Cobras, vipers, and certain other members of the venom clade hunt with venomous saliva injected by fangs. Some arthropods, such as spiders and caterpillars, create thread from salivary glands.

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