in nature, spider silk is a magical material that can be used to create super-strong fabrics. so why hasn't anyone thought of building a "spider silk farm"? it may be that spiders are too difficult to "cooperate," which has been difficult for humans to do.
science and technology development · artificial spider silk
to solve this problem, many labs have tried artificial silk and even considered transferring spider dna into silkworms.
the good news is that scientists have finally built a new machine that takes us one step closer to the future of textile materials.
the spider's trick is to secrete a protein solution through a long, narrow tube. as it passes through the tube, pressure causes it to bond together, creating silk fibers.
advantages and limitations
researchers have designed a similar machine that combines two natural spider silk proteins, according to a recent study in the journal nature chemical biology.
using the machine, researchers have created the strongest synthetic spider silk ever made. it is almost identical to real spider silk, biodegradable and cheap to make.
the way silk fibers have been extracted from silkworms for thousands of years is expected to change in the future.
today's advances, however, do not mean mass production is imminent, as only one machine has been built and scientists have spun out about a kilometer of material. therefore, large-scale production still needs to wait.
researchers at the brazilian institute of genetic resources and biotechnology have successfully made artificial spider silk in a laboratory, which they believe is of great commercial value.
according to the project's researchers, the silk protein needed for the experiment was synthesized in the laboratory with the help of e. coli bacteria.
the researchers diluted the bacteria in a liquid medium to make spider silk proteins with specific dna sequences, then used a special syringe to obtain the protein fibers.
the synthetic silk is about 40 nanometers in diameter and 10 to 20 times thicker than natural silk. in the future, researchers will also test the silk's ductility and toughness.
biodegradable and flexible, the silk could be used in textile materials, medicine and aircraft and ships in the future, said biodegradable spider silk expert elibio, who led the project.