A major step towards the large-scale production of silks with tailor-made properties
Oxford University researchers have harnessed the natural defence mechanism of silkworms, which causes paralysis, in what is a major step towards the large-scale production of silks with tailor-made properties.
Professor Fritz Vollrath and colleagues from the Oxford Silk Group at Oxford University’s Department of Zoology collected silk directly from paralysed silkworms by injecting a chemical that is naturally produced by the animal. In the wild silkworms produce this hormone when they are injured since, as they move their bodies through hydrostatic pressure, without this self-induced paralysis their wounds would get worse and they would risk ‘bleeding out’.
The team’s report in the journal Biomacromolecules this week concludes that, in comparison to unparalysed silkworms, paralysis allows longer and more consistent silks to be collected by eliminating the ability of the silkworm to break and alter its silk fibre.
The direct ‘forced reeling’ of silk has been used in spiders for many years. However, reeling large amounts of silk directly from silkworms has not previously been possible. By tricking the silkworm into performing its natural response to injury and becoming paralysed the Oxford scientists show that it is possible to reel hundreds of meters of silk under full control.
Unlike unravelling cocoons, as in the silk textile industry, silkworm forced reeling allows the silk properties to be modified to suit particular purposes. This has important implications for the large-scale reeling of silkworms for industrial production of environmentally-friendly fibres for use in a range of applications – from biomedical implants through to super-tough composite panels.
Silkworm paralysis may open the door to a range of silk technologies, using these animals which, unlike spiders, can be farmed at high-densities. Reeling of silk from paralysed worms is the subject of a recent patent, which also highlights the exciting potential for genetically modifying silkworms to induce paralysis ‘on-demand’, a particularly useful feature for mass-rearing.
‘This is an interesting result as the paralysis prevents the silkworms breaking the fibre, but still allows silk spinning and collection,’ said Beth Mortimer of the Oxford Silk Group, an author of the report.
‘The commercial implications of this process are self evident: now we can make silks to order by manipulating the mechanical properties while at the same time adding functionality,’ said Professor Vollrath.
The Latest on: Smart silk technology
- Digitalizing the Silk Roadon November 29, 2019 at 3:04 am
Along with providing its own development experience in hardware connectivity, such as the creation of the world's leading high-quality smart ... of technology patents provides favorable conditions for ...
- Black Friday 2019 is here best deals in clothing furniture technology home childrenon November 28, 2019 at 4:01 pm
Braun silk-epil nine sensosmart is the world's 1st smart epilator. The silk-epil skinspa is a complete 4-in-1 epilation, exfoliation and skin care system. The epilator includes sensosmart pressure ...
- The best Black Friday deals from around the interneton November 28, 2019 at 9:10 am
This silk pillowcase is hypoallergenic and features fine Mulberry silk ... Bridging the gap between ancient tried and true methods and modern technology, the iJoou Personal Pocket Therapist provides ...
- Amazon Black Friday Deals 2019: The Braun IPL Silk Expert Pro 5 is 51% off todayon November 28, 2019 at 8:31 am
For today only, Amazon has slashed a massive 51 per cent off the Braun IPL Silk Expert Pro 5 Laser ... For extra peace of mind, its safe IPL technology has also been clinically tested and ...
- Best IPL and laser hair removal deviceson November 26, 2019 at 2:37 pm
According to Silk'n, in addition to IPL technology, the Infinity 400,000 uses the company's eHPL technology ... Similar to other hair-removal devices, the Infinity has a smart skin sensor installed.
- 'Watchmen': How the Graphic Novel's Original Characters Figure Into the HBO Serieson November 25, 2019 at 7:04 am
and that she’s got everything figured out,” Smart tells ET of Blake. (While her path to becoming an agent is not made explicitly clear, it’s revealed that she and Dreiberg were apprehended by the FBI ...
- Xinhua Silk Road: Sensor industry projects flock to settle in Zhengzhou, C. Chinaon November 11, 2019 at 5:50 pm
ZHENGZHOU, China, Nov. 12, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- A number of sensor industrial projects will be settled in the Zhengzhou National High and New Technology Development ... of the 100 billion-level ...
- Silk Can Be Made Into Shape-Changing, Reusable Clothingon November 11, 2019 at 1:34 am
Researchers at Tufts University School of Engineering have designed new silk materials that can wrinkle into highly detailed patterns for next-generation smart clothing and optical ... that the silk ...
- Apple revamping smart home effortson October 30, 2019 at 9:01 am
The overhaul is designed to spur more outside accessory and appliance makers to connect smart-home products such ... the former Mozilla chief technology officer who joined Apple last year when his ...
- Dubai Chamber and Emirates NBD sign MoU on Digital Silk Road initiativeon October 14, 2019 at 3:13 am
Read: GITEX: Smart Dubai and Dubai Airports Launch ‘Travel’ Feature on DubaiNow The Digital Silk Road initiative, currently being developed by Dubai Chamber in cooperation with DP World - UAE Region ...
via Google News and Bing News