A startup from Jerusalem claims to have managed to produce synthetic spider silk fibers, which is one of nature's strongest and most resilient materials. It can be used to create medical implants, wound healing dressings or stronger condoms.
The spider's twine, that is, the fibers woven by these arthropods in a web to catch prey or protect offspring, is made of proteins that are both strong and flexible. This makes it up to five times stronger than high-tensile steel at the same diameter.
"The spider web does not look strong because it is very, very thin, but if you create a spider web the diameter of a pencil, it can probably stop a Boeing 747 in flight," explained Seevix CEO and co-founder Shlomcijon Szen, quoted by the Times of Israel.
Seeviks was supposed to succeed in developing a unique DNA sequence and through a fermentation process using bacteria, sugar, yeast and water to create an environmentally friendly material that mimics the properties of a spider's thread. Companies around the world have been trying for years to produce biosynthetic spider silk that can be used in many products, from textiles to medicines and cosmetics.
According to the startup, the resulting fiber can be combined with others to create much stronger, lighter and thinner materials for use in sports products, medical devices, cosmetics, the defense industry, textiles, and the automotive and aerospace industries. This material could be used, for example, to create lightweight and durable components used in orthopedics, surgical meshes, dental implants and biological dressings to accelerate wound healing.
"Another possible application would be to make condoms more durable," said Jeffrey Grossman, president of the startup's board. By combining synthetic silk with latex, the material would be able to create a thinner and stronger condom that is less prone to tearing.
Joanna Baczała (PAP)