Strongest Spider Silk Produced in Bacteria

Engineering students from Northeastern University worked with Professor and Chair David Kaplan in the Department of Biomedical Engineering to engineer a theoretical method for producing spider silk in bacterial cells at currently unmatched concentrations. Silk from the Caerostris darwini spider of Madagascar is more robust than any material at ten times the toughness of Kevlar.

Credit: Thinkstock

The team’s project won first place at this year’s New Eng­land Bio­engi­neering Con­fer­ence.

Read more about the technology in Kaplan’s paper in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Xiao-Xia Xia, Zhi-Gang Qian, Chang Seok Ki, Young Hwan Park, David L. Kaplan, and Sang Yup Lee. Native-sized recombinant spider silk protein produced in metabolically engineered Escherichia coli results in a strong fiber. PNAS, 2010; DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1003366107

This story by Angela Herring first appeared in news@Northeastern on May 10, 2013.

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