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Oyster shell protein fights corrosion.

A piece of protein isolated from oyster shells may one day eliminate the scaly white buildup inside metal water pipes, tanks and pumps. This natural anti-scalant also seems to prevent corrosion, according to researchers from the Mineralization Center at the University of South Alabama in Mobile.

Biologist Eric Mueller reports that he and his colleagues have figured out how to synthesize this substance, called polyaspartate.

Industries that use water for cooling risk fouling their plumbing with deposits of calcium carbonate and other minerals. The chemicals used today to slow this precipitation and prevent corrosion can pollute the environment, Mueller says. But polyaspartate is "just amino acids," he says, "and when they break down they are usable in the environment."

He thinks the oyster-inspired chemical could become a standard water treatment.
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Title Annotation:polyaspartate used to protect plumbing
Author:Pennisi, Elizabeth
Publication:Science News
Date:May 4, 1991
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