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黏液的秘密 – 译学馆
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黏液的秘密

Banana Slugs: Secret of the Slime | Deep Look

Beneath the towering redwoods
高大的红杉树下面
lives one ofthe most peculiar creatures in California:
生活着美国加州最奇特的生物之一
the banana slug.
香蕉蛞蝓
And what makes a banana slug so
让香蕉蛞蝓极具蛞蝓特征的
peculiarly slug-like is its glorious slime.
是其令人印象深刻的黏液
They’re covered in it.
它们全身都覆盖着黏液
But why?
为什么呢?
Slime is a brilliant solution to many
蛞蝓在森林中会面临很多问题
problems that slugs face in the forest.
黏液则是很好的解决办法
Slugs are mostly water,
蛞蝓含水量很高
which means they deal constantly with the threat of dehydration.
这意味着蛞蝓要不断应对脱水带来的威胁
And you’d think that laying down that thick layer of slime would be hard to maintain,
你会认为 不断用厚厚的黏液包裹全身是一件很难的事
and use up a bunch of water.
而且 会耗光大量的水份
But slime actually attracts water.
但实际上 黏液是能够吸收水分的
It’s produced by cells in the slug’s skin
蛞蝓通过皮肤细胞分泌黏液
called goblet cells.
该细胞被称为杯状细胞
Tiny granules of mucus emerge from the cells,
黏液颗粒从细胞中渗出
then pop open and
然后破裂开
absorb water from the surroundings.
从环境中吸收水分
One mucus granule can absorb
一个黏液颗粒能吸收的水分
100 times its own volume in water.
是自身体积的100倍
Slime is also critical to how a slug moves.
另外 黏液对蛞蝓的移动方式也至关重要
Slugs drag themselves across the forest floor
凭借肌肉波浪状有节奏的收缩
with rhythmic waves of muscular Contraction
蛞蝓能够在森林的地面上爬行
But the forest floor is rough terrain.
但是 森林的地面崎岖不平
Slime is a great lubricant,
黏液是极好的润滑剂
it lets the slug glide over dirt and leaves.
让蛞蝓能在泥土和落叶上爬过
Slime also helps slugs find each other over huge distances
黏液还能帮助蛞蝓穿越很远的距离找到彼此
– at least, huge slug distances.
至少对蛞蝓来说是很远的距离
Chemicals in slime trails
黏液痕迹中的化学成分
tell slugs which direction another slug was headed,
能让蛞蝓得知另一只蛞蝓的前进方向
maybe leading it to a potential mate.
也许会引领它找到潜在的配偶
Oh, and slime is recyclable.
黏液可以回收利用
Slugs eat other slugs’ slime…
蛞蝓会吃其它蛞蝓的黏液
like a little snack they find en route.
就像吃在途中找到的小点心
They even eat their own slime sometimes.
它们有时甚至还会吃自己的黏液
So what is slime?
那黏液是什么?
Well, you’ve got your liquids — that’s where molecules float randomly all over the place.
正如你所知道的 在液态中 分子是随意流动的
And you’ve got your solids, where molecules are packed closely together, fixed in place.
而在固态中 分子则紧挨着无法移动
A liquid crystal — that’s what slime is — is in between those two things.
黏液是液晶状态 介于固态和液态之间
The molecules are aligned with their neighbors,
液晶状态中 分子尽管彼此排列着
but they can move and flow together.
却能够一起移动和流动
This structure gives slime a strange ability
由于这种结构 黏液具有了奇特的能力
to be either a lubricant, or an adhesive.
能够起到润滑剂或者黏合剂的作用
Slick, or sticky,
滑溜溜 或者说黏糊糊
allowing a slug to adhere to almost
让蛞蝓在几乎任何表面上
any surface or glide with ease.
都能够附着或轻松爬行
Chemically, slime is very similar to human mucus
在化学成分上 人类的黏液和蛞蝓的黏液很类似
— which is also a liquid crystal.
也是一种液晶
Your body produces about six cups of mucus a day…
每天人体黏液的分泌量大约是六杯
even more than that if you’ve got a cold.
如果感冒的话 甚至会更多
But instead of using it on the outside of
不过 人体的黏液作用在体内
your body like slugs do, you use it inside.
而不像蛞蝓那样作用在体外
The glueyness traps bacteria and pollen that enter through your nose,
黏液能黏住进入鼻腔的细菌和花粉
keeps it from irritating your lungs
防止它们给肺部带来不适
or getting into your bloodstream where it could make you sick.
或者 防止它们进入血液诱发疾病
It also protects the insides of your digestive system.
另外 黏液还能保护消化系统的内壁
Engineers would love to figure out how to synthesize
为了应用黏液这些很棒的特性
this stuff to make use of its incredible properties.
工程师们很想弄清楚黏液的合成方法
Remember when we said slime can absorb water?
记得我们说过黏液能够吸收水分吗?
Well here’s a design for a greenhouse window — inspired by slug skin
这是受蛞蝓皮肤启发为温室窗口设计的装置
— that can store and release humidity.
它能维持和降低湿度
And here’s a robot that mimics
这是仿真机器人
the way slugs use slime and muscular waves
它能模仿蛞蝓使用黏液和肌肉波浪状的收缩
to climb walls and ceilings.
在墙壁和天花板上爬行
These are just a couple ways
以上几种应用方式
the world could get a bit slimier in the future.
会让未来世界更加黏糊糊的
All inspired by the humble banana slug,
这一切的灵感都源于不起眼的香蕉蛞蝓
our partner in slime.
我们黏液界的小伙伴

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香蕉蛞蝓,自然界生物的神奇之处有趣不枯燥的科普小知识

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