Fibers of artificial cobweb Steel and stronger Kevlar


Poutine is one of the most durable materials on Earth. With the help of genetically modified bacteria, American scientists were synthesized polymer amyloid fibers, which turned out to be stronger than some kind of spider silk, as well as steel and kevlar. The creators are confident that new material has a huge potential.

Team Professor Zhang Fuzhona from Washington University in St. Louis worked with a web before. In 2018, his laboratory created bacteria that produced recombinant spider silk, which was not inferior to natural analogues on all important mechanical properties. But then they wondered if something was no longer synthesized.

To do this, they modified the amino acid chains in silk protein to add it new properties, while retaining some useful qualities,

The problem with recombinant fiber web is that the main component of natural sparse threads — beta nanocrystals — it is difficult to obtain without a significant gene modification. «Spiders came up with how to spin the thread with the desired number of nanocrystals,» said Zhang. — But when people launch artificial spinning, the volume of nanocrystals in the synthetic fiber is often lower than that of a natural analogue. «

Therefore, scientists had to modify silk genes by introducing amyloid chains with a high tendency to form beta nanocrystals. They created other polymer amyloid proteins from well-studied amyloid chains. The proteins obtained were less than the repetitive sequences of amino acids than the web, that is, the bacteria was easier to create them.

Moreover, scientists are convinced that the reserve to increase the strength of the material is still large: they worked with three amyloid chains, and among thousands there may be even more interesting combinations.

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