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Controlled reeling is a powerful tool to investigate the details of silk processing. However, consistent forced reeling of silkworms is hindered by the significant degree of behaviorally induced variation caused by the animal. This paper proposes silkworm paralysis as a novel method to control the animal and thus in vivo spinning conditions. Using these methods, we achieve low and consistent reeling forces during the collection of over 500 m of individual silk fiber while monitoring filament variability, morphology, and properties. Novel techniques to measure the irregular silk cross-sectional areas lead to the more accurate calculation of the true engineering values and mechanical property variation of individual silk fibers. Combining controlled reeling and accurate thread measurement techniques allows us to present the relative contributions of processing and behavior in the performance envelope of Bombyx mori silk.

Original publication




Journal article



Publication Date





3653 - 3659


Animals, Bombyx, Silk