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 ...

New evidence on how fluoride fights tooth decay

In an advance toward solving a 50-year-old mystery, scientists are reporting new evidence on how the fluoride in drinking water, toothpastes, mouth rinses and other oral-care products prevents tooth decay. Their report appears ...

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 ...

A step toward a saliva test for cancer

A new saliva test can measure the amount of potential carcinogens stuck to a person's DNA -- interfering with the action of genes involved in health and disease -- and could lead to a commercial test to help determine risks ...

Graphene-DNA biosensor selective, simple to create

(PhysOrg.com) -- Graphene and DNA can combine to create a stable and accurate biosensor, reports a study published in the nanotechnology journal Small. The tiny biosensor might eventually help doctors and researchers better ...

Parasitoid larvae in caterpillars affect behaviour of moths

(PhysOrg.com) -- Parasitoid larvae that feed within caterpillars that eat cabbage plants influence the plant via the caterpillar, making the cabbage plant an unattractive prospect for moths looking for a spot to lay their ...

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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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