Home / Knowledge / News / Textiles / Secrets of spider silk spinning process
Secrets of spider silk spinning process
17
May '10
Five times the tensile strength of steel and triple that of the currently best synthetic fibers: Spider silk is a fascinating material. But no one has thus far succeeded in producing the super fibers synthetically. How do spiders form long, highly stable and elastic fibers from the spider silk proteins stored in the silk gland within split seconds? Scientists from the Technische Universitaet Muenchen (TUM) and the University of Bayreuth have now succeeded in unraveling the secret. They present their results in the current issue of the prestigious scientific journal Nature.

“The high elasticity and extreme tensile strength of natural spider silk are unmatched, even by fibers produced from pure spider silk proteins,” says Professor Horst Kessler, Carl-von- Linde Professor at the Institute for Advanced Study of the TU Muenchen. That highlights a key question in the artificial production of stable spider silk fibers: How do spiders manage to keep the high concentrations of raw material available in the silk gland, ready to produce the high tensile strength fiber at a moment's notice. Thomas Scheibel has been pursuing the secret of spider silk for years, until 2007 at TUM and since then at the University of Bayreuth.

Spider silk consists of protein molecules, long chains comprising thousands of amino-acid elements. X-ray structure analyses show that the finished fiber has areas in which several protein chains are interlinked via stable physical connections. These connections provide the high stability. Between these connections are unlinked areas that give the fibers their great elasticity.

The situation within the silk gland is, however, very different: The silk proteins are stored in high concentrations in an aqueous environment, awaiting deployment. The areas responsible for interlinking may not approach each other too closely; otherwise the proteins would clump up instantaneously. Hence, these molecules must have some kind of special storage configuration.

X-ray structure analysis, which is so successful in other domains, was of little help here, since it can only be used to analyze crystals. And up to the instant in which the solid silk fiber is formed, everything takes place in solution. The method of choice was therefore nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy (NMR). Using the equipment of the Bavarian NMR Center, Franz Hagn, a biochemist from Horst Kessler's work group at the Institute for Advanced Study (TUM-IAS) at the TU Muenchen,managed to unravel the structure of a control element responsible for the formation of the solid fiber. Now the researchers could, together with Lukas Eisoldt and John Hardy from Thomas Scheibel's group, shed light on this control element's mode of operation.

“Under storage conditions in the silk gland these control domains are connected pair-wise in such a way that the interlinking areas of both chains can not lie parallel to each other,” Thomas Scheibel explains. “Interlinking is thus effectively prevented.” The protein chains are stored with the polar areas on the outside and the hydrophobic parts of the chain on the inside, ensuring good solubility in the aqueous environment.

Must ReadView All

Textiles minister Smriti Irani at a press conference with minister of state for textiles, Ajay Tamta, the principal director general (M&C), PIB, AP Frank Noronha and other dignitaries. Courtesy: PIB

Apparel/Garments | On 23rd May 2017

Special package for knitwear coming soon: Irani

Union textiles minister Smriti Irani said that the government of...

Apparel/Garments | On 23rd May 2017

Apparel, footwear use may rise by 63% in 2030: Report

The apparel and footwear consumption is projected to rise by 63 per...

Apparel/Garments | On 23rd May 2017

Gap Inc earns $3.4 bn in net sales in Q1 FY17

Gap Inc's net sales for the first quarter of fiscal year 2017 were...

Interviews View All

Sunil Kumar Sharma
Loknayak JPNSSSG Ltd

'The blend of cotton–linen yarn has high demand in the domestic and...

Nishank Patel
Shri Dinesh Mills Limited

Broad range of fabrics will sell well this financial year

Claudia Kersten
Global Organic Textile Standard

‘GOTS is a very efficient supply chain management tool, especially for...

Urs Stalder
Sanitized AG

Urs Stalder, CEO, Sanitized AG, talks about the increasing use of hygiene...

Kai Poehler
Voith Paper GmbH & Co. KG

The glass mat industry is growing by five to eight per cent annually. Kai...

Johan Berlin
InvestKonsult Sweden AB

Investkonsult Sweden AB has been buying and selling second-hand textile...

Prathyusha Garimella
Prathyusha Garimella

Hyderabad-based designer <b>Prathyusha Garimella</b> is known for blending ...

Bani Batra

Bani Batra’s couture wedding collection is inspired by traditional Indian...

Igor Chapurin
Chapurin

"Now we can see the Russian trend in international fashion. And Russian...

Press Release

Press Release

Letter to Editor

Letter to Editor

RSS Feed

RSS Feed

Submit your press release on


editorial@fibre2fashion.com

Letter To Editor






(Max. 8000 char.)

Search Companies





SEARCH

news category


Related Categories:
May 2017

May 2017

Subscribe today and get the latest update on Textiles, Fashion, Apparel and so on.

SUBSCRIBE


Browse Our Archives

GO


E-News Insight
Subscribe Today and Get the
Latest News Update in Your Mail Box.
Advanced Search