Proteins in NatureREAD MORE
Tough as Nails
Fingernails and toenails, the toughest areas of the body’s outmost layer, are made from sheets of protein. Nails are rigid and resilient due to keratin, a protein also found in skin and hair.
Sturdy fingernails serve the primary function of protecting vulnerable fingertips from injury and are also built-in tools for digging, scratching, and executing fine motor-skill jobs like untying a knot.
Clear nail polish, too, contains protein that can strengthen a brittle nail. These products are often marketed as “protein-enriched” or having a “protein base coat.” LESS
Critter ProteinREAD MORE
Insects require protein for numerous processes of their little lives. In fact, you’ve probably been the unwitting source of protein for at least one insect: A female mosquito extracts blood to obtain the protein needed to nourish her eggs.
While we’re at it, have you ever wondered why moth larvae bore holes in wool clothes and rugs? They seek the protein in the wool. Remember that wool is made from sheep’s hair. The larvae of clothes moths and carpet beetles don’t care whether or not it’s growing on the back of a living animal, they just seek the hair for its enriching protein meal. LESS
Neurotoxic ThreatsThere are four types of snake venom, and all are complex mixtures of proteins. Venom has an analog in human saliva; in fact, the venom is the snake’s saliva. But snake venom is neurotoxic, meaning that its potentially devastating effects — shooting pain, convulsions, organ shutdown, paralysis — are wrought through the victim’s nervous system. The neurotoxins do their damage to nerve cells by binding to membrane proteins (proteins attached to the membranes of cells). READ MORE
Tetrodotoxin is the singularly potent neurotoxin carried by pufferfish (and a few related species), and there’s enough of it in one tennis-ball sized fish to kill 20 people. People would have little chance of exposure if they didn’t consume raw pufferfish, or fugu, as a delicacy. An experienced sushi chef must assiduously remove parts of the fish containing the neurotoxin. A poorly executed sushi surgery will result in big trouble for the adventuresome diner as there is no antidote. LESS