Spider silk properties tracked from genes to fibre mechanics

Spider major ampullate silk (MA) is natures’ toughest fibre. There is thus immense interest among scientists across different fields in the attainment of an understanding about why and how spiders produce such amazing fibres. Accordingly there are now many publications on MA silk genetic expression patterns, secondary and tertiary protein structures, silk fibre physical and…


Spider silks in wearables

Another application of spider silk we (in collaboration with Trish Flanagan and Pat Spicer) are exploring is its incorporation into wearables to create new adaptable features in different kinds of clothing and equipment.

Here Trish is isolating the silk collected from Trichonephila to weave them into yarns for hybridization with other fibres.

Sub-lethal insecticide doses affect spider silk properties

Fifty-five years on from Silent Spring the impacts on ecosystems and non-target beneficial organisms and human health from the widespread use of insecticides in agriculture is well documented. Insecticides directly reduce the populations of beneficial pollinating and pest killing invertebrates, such as bees and spiders, and indirectly affect soil and aquatic animal populations through runoff…