A diet from nanovolonok will allow silk from silkworms silk twice as stronger than usual

The expression “you are what you eat”, in the light of the latest research of Japanese scientists from the University of Tokhok, a new meaning has acquired. They were able, without changing the DNA or the lifestyle of the caterpillars of mulberry silkworm, to teach these insects to produce a silk thread with completely different parameters. It’s all about a special diet using nanocomponents.

One of the basic difficulties when working with elements of nano -size is that their properties often depend on the location of individual particles in a material that is extremely difficult to control. In this regard, the mulberry silkworms turned out to be an ideal “machine”, since their biological apparatus in the form of salivary glands makes all the initial components be located in the emerging thread formed from them in a strictly defined order. As a result, if you add suitable components to the caterpillars, you can get a thread with additives that will provide the desired properties.

Among the first, this technology was tested by Chinese scientists who added graphene and carbon nanotubes to the feed by the caterpillars. Their Japanese colleagues went a different way – they took the natural substance cellulose, divided it into a nanometer fibers and added to a mixture of crushed mulberry leaves, their favorite food of caterpillars. Analysis of the developed thread showed that the particles of cellulose were perfectly aligned in the direction of the flow of saliva. As a result, the silk thread has become twice as strong while maintaining other properties.

Source &#8212 Tohoku University

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