In addition to using their sticky feet for climbing, long tongues for grabbing food and powerful lungs to croak, one kind of frog has another impressive skill–making “frog foam” when mating.
According to Science Daily, “While mating, Tungara frogs (Engystomops pustulosus) release a protein cocktail that they beat into a foam with their back legs. The frogs — less than 5 centimetres long — lay their eggs in these foam nests to protect them from disease, predators and environmental stresses.”
As you’ll see in the video below, sometimes several frog “couples” create the foam at once, which leads to a huge, towering mass of foam that protects all the frogs’ eggs. They’re kept moist, protected, and completely hidden from predators.
This same foam, as science has found, could also help protect humans from bacteria and infections, plus help to administer antibiotics. Researchers from the University of Strathclyde have been testing and analyzing the foam and have found it to have many surprising capabilities.
Researchers found that the foam is “highly stable and capable of taking up drugs before releasing them at a stable rate,” even when tested with human skin cells. And, the results are promising. Preliminary results have found that “the foam’s long-lasting, durable characteristics could be used to treat severe burns, which frequently become infected and require the use of intravenous antibiotics.”
That means the foam can potentially be used as an all-in-one protectant, treatment and medicinal treatment method for even the most severe skin conditions.
Currently, the team at Strathclyde is working to create a complete synthetic foam with the same properties as the frog foam. These discoveries have great promise for future medical innovations, but they’ll still need a lot of research and development before you can expect to see frog foam at your next visit to the doctor’s office.
See exactly how the foam is made below: