July 21, 2021

Microbially produced fibers: Stronger than steel, tougher than Kevlar

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2021-07-21 11:00:10

July 21, 2021

by Brandie Jefferson, Washington University in St. Louis

Spider silk is said to be one of the strongest, toughest materials on the Earth. Now engineers at Washington University in St. Louis have designed amyloid silk hybrid proteins and produced them in engineered bacteria. The resulting fibers are stronger and tougher than some natural spider silks.

To be precise, the artificial silk—dubbed "polymeric amyloid" fiber—was not technically produced by researchers, but by bacteria that were genetically engineered in the lab of Fuzhong Zhang, a professor in the Department of Energy, Environmental & Chemical Engineering in the McKelvey School of Engineering.

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