Device that apes spiders to spin synthetic silk

Jan 11, 2017, 3:19 AM EST
(Source: Vincent Lock/flickr)
(Source: Vincent Lock/flickr)

Researchers from Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences have developed a device that extrudes silk just like a spider gland. According to a study published in the journal Nature Chemical Biology, the synthetic silk thus produced exhibits excellent strength and can be used in repairing damaged nerve cells in future.

Researchers Jan Johansson and Anna Rising, who are interested in biomedical applications of spider silk, combined genes from two natural silk proteins to obtain a super-strong version that doesn’t contract in water, unlike the natural one, writes Seeker. The resulting solution was extruded through a spinning device that mimics a spider gland.

The researcher duo, which created a kilometer of thread from 10 rice grains' weight protein, now aims to improve the design of their silk spinning apparatus to eventually produce super fibers that would outperform native spider silk in strength and other properties, notes ResearchGate.