Scientists synthesize tick spit protein for first time

Using the properties of naturally occurring proteins offers huge potential for new medicines. Charlotte Franck in Professor Richard Payne's lab has for the first time made the anti-inflammatory evasin proteins found in tick ...

Pacifier biosensor could help monitor newborn health

Wearable biosensors that non-invasively monitor health and fitness are growing in popularity among adults. But adapting this technology for use with babies is difficult because the devices are often bulky or have rigid surfaces ...

Study casts doubt on accuracy of mobile drug testing devices

New research conducted by the Lambert Initiative for Cannabinoid Therapeutics at the University of Sydney calls into question the reliability of the two devices that are currently being used for mobile drug testing (MDT) ...

New way to bump off ticks: Dry up their saliva

Saliva from a tick's bite can transmit pathogens that cause serious illnesses, such as Lyme disease, and significant agricultural losses. Current insecticides have drawbacks, so scientists have been seeking new ways to prevent ...

From bugs to drugs

A new study led by Prof Shoumo Bhattacharya has decoded the structure of unique proteins found in tick saliva and created new ones not found in nature, paving the way for a new generation of "Swiss-army knife' anti-inflammatory ...

Mosquito protein controls blood feeding

Biting insects use a range of tools when sucking blood from hosts to maximize their chances of a good meal. Only female mosquitos feed on blood, which provides a high level of nutrients for egg production. The saliva of biting ...

Researchers develop smartphone-based ovulation test

Investigators from Brigham and Women's Hospital are developing an automated, low-cost tool to predict a woman's ovulation and aid in family planning. Capitalizing on advancements in several areas, including microfluidics, ...

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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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