Here’s How Black Widow Spiders Create Fibers Identical to Steel-strength

According to the collaborated research done by the researchers at the San Diego State University and Northwestern University, black widow spider converts proteins present in its abdomen into steel-strength fibers. This technology can be equally used to produce strong synthetic materials. Black widow spiders are actual survivals in the countries including South America, Europe, North America, Asia, Australia, and Africa. These category of spiders are capable of producing a different variety of silk having exceptional properties.

The study reveals that proteins present in spider does not combine as simple spherical micelles, but in turn form as complex and compound micelles. Micelles are nothing but group of different water soluble and non-soluble molecules. These molecules perform the main functionality of creating fibers from the proteins that have a tensile strength as powerful as steel. According to the previous research, scientists wondered that proteins from the spider’s silk anticipated the spinning process same as that of the nano-size micelles before mere funneling through the spider’s spinning apparatus to produce silk fibers.

Later, when the scientists tried to repeat this process they failed to develop the synthetic materials out of it. Nathan Gianneschi, one of the authors of the study said, “The knowledge gap was literally in the middle.” “We are unable to recognize what’s going wrong at the nanoscale in the spinning duct or silk glands of the spiders. How the storage, transformation and transportation process involved in the conversion of proteins into synthetic and steel tensile strength fibers”, he further added. To peep deep inside the protein gland (origin of silk fibers) of the black widow spiders, researchers made use of nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy device. He and Gregory Holland, associate professor at McCormick School of Engineering said, “The protein silk of the spiders are the results of nano-assemblies of proteins positioned in the stomach of the spider and are not formed from the random solution of individual proteins.”


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