Scientists have long wanted to imitate the hard-wearing spindelsilket. A new discovery makes it possible.
Spider silk is the strongest fiber known to man, it is a very interesting material.
It says Anna Rising, a senior lecturer at SLU, and the researchers at the karolinska institute, which is one of the main authors of the new study on how spider silk can be produced.
She is associate professor in translational medicine, a research field where problems identified in health care are examined in order to be able to quickly produce tangible results in the form of improved diagnostics or treatment.
Animal studies have shown spindeltrådens potential in medicine. The material repelled not away of the body and in the case of nerve damage has the thread contributed to that nerve damage could heal:
” nerve fibers can only grope their way a few millimeters if they were gone. But when researchers have taken away six centimetres of the nerve, and put the spider between them they have managed to get the nerves to grope their way, and reformed, ” she says.
Now for the first time, a team of scientists, including several Swedish scientists, managed to produce several kilometres long, artificial spindeltrådar. Jan Johansson is professor at the department of neurobiology, care sciences and society at Karolinska institutet and also one of the study’s lead author. He says that the breakthrough is that the research team examined and copied how spiders produce thread.
By dissecting spiders of the species Nephila clavipes, and examine their spinnkörtlar with mikroelektroder the researchers could see how much the pH changed inside the spider’s own trådtillverkning
“We was able to determine the pH gradient for the first time, almost all the way to the that the wire comes out,” says Jan Johansson.
By imitating the spider’s own body, with the same change in acidity could the research group create an artificial thread. The movie below shows how the thread is spun.
the Thread is formed:
Thread vindas up:
the Protein to the artificial thread is created by genetically modified bacteria in a nutrient solution. With the group method makes the material water soluble and mimic the gel that is in the spindle trådkörtlar. In previous attempts, has been forced to dissolve the protein with the solvent, since it formed lumps.
Read more: – Swedish research behind artificial spider silk
Others have made use of solvents and alcohol, which destroys the fibres. When it is not folded anymore, so as a spider’s thread. We have a protein that is pleated, as is functional. Our fiber is put together in an orderly way and it has never been done before, ” said Anna, Rising.
Like the New Technology on Facebook
About the study
the Article Biomimetic spinning of artificial spider silk from a chimeric minispidroin published in Nature Chemical Biology. Read more here: http://www.nature.com/nchembio/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/nchembio.2269.html