Discovery of protein-based natural hydrogel from the girdle of the 'sea cockroach' Chiton articulatus (Chitonida: Chitonidae)

Emel Çakmak, Behlül Koc-Bilican, Omar Hernando Avila-Poveda, Tuǧçe Karaduman, Demet Cansaran-Duman, Suzanne T. Williams, Murat Kaya*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


Hydrogels are widely used materials in biomedical, pharmaceutical, cosmetic, and agricultural fields. However, these hydrogels are usually formed synthetically via a long and complicated process involving crosslinking natural polymers. Herein, we describe a natural hydrogel isolated using a 'gentle' acid treatment from the girdle of a chiton species (Chiton articulatus). This novel hydrogel is shown to have a proliferative effect on mouse fibroblast cells (cell line, L929). The swelling capacity of this natural hydrogel was recorded as approximately 1,200% in distilled water, which is within desired levels for hydrogels. Detailed characterizations reveal that the hydrogel consists predominantly (83.93%) of protein. Considering its non-toxicity, proliferative effect and swelling properties, this natural hydrogel is an important discovery for material sciences, with potential for further applications in industry. Whether the girdle has some hydrogel activity in the living animal is unknown, but we speculate that it may enable the animal to better survive extreme environmental conditions by preventing desiccation.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere13386
Publication statusPublished - May 2022
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Çakmak et al.


  • Chiton articulatus
  • High swelling ratio
  • Physicochemical properties
  • Proliferative hydrogel


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