Researchers have for long been fascinated by the silk spider use to hand from due to its strong, rigid and flexible nature. Scientists have been trying to produce silk for human needs as the material utilized must be of excellent quality. Notably, female spiders can weave seven different types of silk for a variety of uses such as hunting, cocooning their eggs and mobility.
Now, a report published in Phy.org sees scientists devising a biological way to mimic the properties of spider silk naturally.
Spider silk consists of two different types of protein which make it strong as well as flexible and elastic.
Notably, developments in biotechnology over the last two or three decades have enable scientists to embed specific genes in microbial cells which turns the microbe into a producer of silk that resembles spider web.
Notably, microbes are simple, single-cell organisms (usually) such as bacteria, yeasts, molds and viruses.
The microbe that the researchers used to produce the silk is a fungus called Trichoderma Reesei that has been used by industries to produce biofuels.
Once the gene is embedded in the cell, it needs sugar to be activated. According to researchers, the gene needs to be added to just a single cell as cell division then provides researchers with more and more silk-producing cells.
The researchers further reveal that the microbes produce the biosynthetic silk in which contains sugar, amino acids and vitamins in addition to water.
The product is a light and fluffy substance from which the silk can be separated.
The raw material produced then needs to be refined and researchers manufacture a silken yarn utilising high voltage to run the raw material through a long and narrow tube causing the material to spray out of the end and onto an aluminum-covered surface, where it forms a membrane.
According to researchers, the recyclable biomaterial could be used to make clothes, surgical sutures and wound dressings as well. It can also be used to make phone covers to aircrafts and vehicle parts.