What is Spider Silk?
Spider silk is a fibre protein spun by spiders, it is gel protein similar to keratin and it is hardened as they exude. The spiders use their silk for different purposes such as trapping their prey, suspending themselves or as a source of food in extreme cases.
There are seven main types of spider silk, each one has specific properties and are secreted by different spider glands. One of the advantages of spider silk is their light weight, resilience, waterproof properties as well as their strength. Spider silk can stronger than steel depending on the spider kind and it can be even more flexible than nylon.
One of the main problems for scientists is the complication to decode the spider’s DNA in order to create silk. Many experiments have been produce in order to achieve the mass production of spider silk for example in 2000, Canadian biotechnology company Nexia have worked in a project in which they combined modified genes of goats to produce spider silk protein in their milk, and then to extract the synthesize spider silk milk protein they need big quantities of milk for just few grams of protein.
Who produce spider silk
In November 2015 Spiber announced a partnership with The North Face American outdoor company specialize in outwears to create the Moon parka which is made of 100% synthetic spider silk, both companies aims to mass-produced and commercialise the coat in this year 2016, there is currently no estimated price for the item.
Why is spider silk important?
Spider silks have medical and antiseptic properties; in 2008 an experiment proved that spider silk can help for the regeneration of peripheral nerves in rats and it could be potentially used to help humans. Spider silks have also resistant properties to protect from harmful microorganisms.
Others features of spider silk is their high absorption properties of energy impact; they are an excellent choice for the manufacture of body-armour and protection for the military industry.
Other sustainable aspects of spider silk, is it is eco-friendly and biodegradable because to produce spider silk there is no need of so much electricity proposing a huge economy if we compared their production with the Kevlar production, which need 700 degrees oil heats to fuse.
Spider silk could be a promising material for the future, if scientist and engineers success to produce it in vast amounts because spiders are territorials and cannibalistic animals and in captivity they don’t secrete so much silk.
Spider silk is a versatile material that can be used in every industry and I think it could have a great success in the medical and clothing industry because of their antiseptic properties as well as their strength and flexibility.