The spider silk would be a material of choice for surgery and the food packaging. This is the conclusion of a study conducted by researchers from the SCAMT Institute of ITMO. The latter worked with colleagues from the Swedish University of Sciences.
As noted in the Nanowerk report, the researchers used the atomic force microscopy and to that scanning electronics. These different tools have made it possible to highlight certain things. It seems that spider silk is adhesive, resistant and rough. It’s the spider’s silk Linothele fallax which has been specifically studied in the laboratory.
Webs that could heal wounds
Researchers used several substances, such as water, ethanol and DMSO (dimethyl sulfoxide), to learn about the properties of silk. Laboratory tests revealed the presence of unsaturated fats in the samples taken.
Conclusion: this silk could act as a quality antibiotic. Goodbye, toxic antibacterials! If all goes according to plan, silk will be the basis of tomorrow’s medicines. It would be possible to use it for heal wounds or for cover the implants.
However, silk cannot entirely replace conventional antibiotics. This is the information provided by the co-author of the study, Anastasiia Kriuchkova. Also, since silk slows down bacterial reproduction, it could be used as a coating for implants.
Materials of choice for food packaging?
The report published in Biomacromolecules provides information on the various experiments carried out by researchers to modify the properties of silk. While the DMSO had almost completely removed the globules from the silk, making it smoother and more tacky, the ethanol and water had no impact on it.
Also, they observed that the plants remained more humid when wrapped in natural spider silk. As a result, the protein products had stayed fresher longer. On the other hand, studies on “Food products of animal or plant origin” do not yet provide a conclusive result, according to Kriuchkova.
In short, despite its many advantages, the spider’s web cannot constitute profitable food packaging. Indeed, it is unthinkable to produce spider silk in sufficient quantity.
It is undeniable that science has made a major discovery. The spider does produce a substance of choice for surgery and the food industry. However, it is not yet possible to produce in large quantity, which limits its use cases.