Monday, October 31, 2011

Unravelling The Secrets Of Spider's Silk

The strength of spider silk exceeds anything we can produce in laboratories, but what gives the threads their strength & how the silk proteins are stored in the spider's silk gland and then assembled in the spinning passage in a split second to form the threads has been largely unknown, until now. Scientists found the silk proteins are stored as highly concentrated droplets with a high salt content which stops the proteins from clumping. In the spinning passage the salt content is lowered, enabling the proteins to align & stick together to form the thread. By regulating both the salt concentration & pH balance the protein strands are formed head to tail into a continuous thread & cross linked for extra strength.
Posted by Astrojenny

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