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PRI's Environmental News Magazine

Technology Update

Air Date: Week of September 1, 2000

Cynthia Graber reports on a new cream that is designed to prevent jellyfish stings.


GRABER: The warm end-of-summer ocean waters attract swimmers and lots of jellyfish. There are more than 300 species of jellyfish, and their burns range from mildly painful to fatal. The damage occurs when hundreds of thousands of jellyfish stinging cells come in contact with an animal. They explode and prick the intruder with poisonous barbs. Now, a company in Israel says it has a cream that can prevent jellyfish stings. The solution is based on compounds that mimic chemical reactions produced by the orange clown fish, a tiny marine creature that is able to coexist with jellyfish. It does so by secreting in its mucous a slew of chemicals that disrupt the sensing mechanism of the jellyfish's sting cells. The cells don't feel threatened, so no stinging. It took the scientists ten years to develop their formula, but now it's being bottled as a cream with hopes of protecting swimmers around the world. That's this week's technology update. I'm Cynthia Graber.



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