Washington: Synthetic spider silk that`s five times stronger than steel speeding toward commercial reality.
Alex Scott, a senior editor at Chemical and Engineering News (C and EN), notes that spider silk`s impressive strength has been studied for years, and scientists have been trying to make a synthetic version of the super-strong protein in the lab.
For other simpler proteins, scientists have been able to insert relevant genes into bacterial DNA, essentially turning the micro organisms into protein factories.
However, small firms just might have found the right genetic tricks, the article states. They are coaxing not just genetically engineered bacteria but also goats, transgenic silkworms and even alfalfa to produce multiple different versions of synthetic spider and spider-silkworm silks.
One company has even taken their iteration to the market - though theirs is a non-fibre kind of spider silk for use in cosmetics. So far, commercialization has been on a modest scale.
But the research pipeline for synthetic spider silk is very active, and scientists expect that production is right on the verge of scaling up.
The study has been published in Chemical and Engineering News - a weekly news magazine of the American Chemical Society.