Technology

Bacteria have learned to produce spider silk, which can be used in space suits

It has long been known that spider silk possessesextremely high strength - it is believed that in this he surpasses even steel. He would be actively used in the production of sportswear and even space suits, but it is extremely difficult to start mass production of material, because being together, spiders start killing each other. Fortunately, thanks to genetic engineering, much is now becoming possible - researchers from Washington University in St. Louis made it so that spider silk was produced not by spiders, but by bacteria.

One of the most important parts of a spiderSilk is considered a fibroin gene, which is secreted by some arachnids. It was divided into two parts and introduced into the cells of bacteria - they were subsequently joined together thanks to inteins, which are involved in the formation of large protein parts. The resulting spider silk fragments were isolated from the biomass of bacteria, mixed and activated to form the protein required for the production of filaments.

As a result, the researchers managed to get twogram spider silk. They claim that the strength of the threads produced by bacteria is not inferior to those produced by spiders. At first glance, it may seem that scientists have managed to get an extremely small amount of silk, but the discovery is considered very promising and even breakthrough.

It opens up the possibility of massproduction of such a rare material that can be used in many areas. In addition to the fact that manufacturers of sportswear may be interested in them, the material can be extremely interesting for NASA and other space agencies. If in the near future they start sending spider silk to the ISS to repair spacesuits - this will not be surprising.

It is noteworthy that spider silk can be useful even in robotics. For what it may be needed in robotic designs, read our special material.

What do you think, what else can spider silk be useful for? Share your assumptions in the comments, and you can discuss the topic in more detail in our Telegram-chat.