Milk + Silk = Biosteel

Filed Under Fun 

This week’s fun quiz. If you receive our weekly newsletter, then you already have the answer. To receive our newsletter via email, please email to julesmitchel at targethealth.com with “On Target” in the subject line.

Goat’s milk combined with synthesized 1) ___ proteins, has yielded an incredibly light fabric, called biosteel, that is both biodegradable and strong enough to stop 2) ___. The biodegradable fabric would need to be sealed from the environment if used in critical applications such as body armor or spacecraft, because 3) ___ could get in and digest it. Biosteel is created by transferring the spider gene for the protein, into goat mammary cells and collecting soluble protein from the milk. Genetically engineered goats are now producing the protein. The protein can be turned into a supermaterial, because of its natural role in the silk of a spider’s web. As the spider secretes the protein solution, the silk dries and pulls taut, transforming the proteins into a nearly crystalline and completely insoluble cable. Tests on natural silk show that it can be stronger and more elastic than high-tensile steel or the Kevlar® found in body 4) ___. Spider silk is five times stronger, by weight, than 5) ___ and more resilient than any polymer fiber. The technique used to make biosteel mimics the spider’s own method of production by using goat 6) ___ cells. It turns out that the way mammals produce milk proteins and spiders make silk proteins are broadly 7) ___. Both are produced in skin-like epithelial cells, then held in a space, or lumen, where shear stresses on the protein are minimized. This process termed “transgenics” is a proven and patented technology. This technology focuses on two segments of the 8 ) ___ device market: wound closure systems, including vascular wound repair devices, hemostatic dressings, patches and glues, and sutures; and other medical device products, such as ligament prosthetic devices. BioSteel® has the potential to become the next generation performance filament because it is tougher and lighter than the incumbent fiber, Kevlar®.

Comments

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.