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Spider silks are composite materials with often complex microstructures. They are spun from liquid crystalline dope using a complicated spinning mechanism which gives the animal considerable control. The material properties of finished silk are modified by the effects of water and other solvents, and spiders make use of this to produce fibres with specific qualities. The surprising sophistication of spider silks and spinning technologies makes it imperative for us to understand both material and manufacturing in nature before embarking on the commercialization of biotechnologically modified silk dope.

Type

Journal article

Journal

J Biotechnol

Publication Date

08/2000

Volume

74

Pages

67 - 83

Keywords

Animals, Biotechnology, Bombyx, Insect Proteins, Protein Conformation, Spiders, Water