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    Synthetic Spider Silk Available Soon to the Public

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    Geo Beats

    by Geo Beats

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    By weight, spider silk is five times stronger than steel and three times stronger than Kevlar material, but producing a synthetic version that still retains the same properties has been challenging, until now.

    By weight, spider silk is five times stronger than steel and three times stronger than Kevlar material, but producing a synthetic version that still retains the same properties has been challenging, until now.

    Scientists from several institutions around the world, including Utah State University and German company AMSilk, are all researching different ways to produce a synthetic form of spider silk. AMSilk has already met with commercial success by selling their spider silk protein in nonfiber applications to shampoo and cosmetics manufacturers.

    Harvesting the silk from spiders on a farm is not feasible, so in order to make it commercially available, scientists had to figure out a way to mass produce it in a lab.

    Methods of production range from using E. coli bacteria, to putting spider genes into silkworms and other hosts, resulting in not just the protein, but also the synthetic silk fiber strands.

    Axel H. Leimer a managing director from AMSilk is quoted as saying: "This is scalable technology. If someone ordered one ton, we could make it. We have already made a half a ton.”

    Leimer reportedly hopes that the synthetic spider silk protein will be used as a coating to make silicone breast implants safer, among other uses.
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