Researchers from the Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences and Karolinska Institutet has, step by step, developed a way of "spinning" artificial spider silk.
Because scientists have traditionally struggled to obtain water soluble spider silk proteins from bacteria, previous attempts to create the material have involved harsh chemicals and resulted in fibers of limited use.
To mimic the spider silk gland, the Swedish university team constructed a simple, but very efficient and biomimetic spinning apparatus in which they can develop kilometer-long fibers only by lowering the pH.
"To our surprise, this artificial protein is as water soluble as the natural spider silk proteins, which means that it is possible to keep the proteins soluble at extreme concentrations", said researcher Anna Rising.
In the future, the artificial spider silk could be used to support biomaterial applications and the manufacture of advanced textiles.
Also: Read more Materials & Coatings tech briefs.