Latvian Academy of Sciences has announced 12 most important achievements of 2017 in Latvian science. Among them is our study on the determination of the molecular mechanism of spider silk formation and assessment of the degree of biomimicry of artificial spider silk spinning, which was carried out in collaboration with Karolinska Institute in Sweden (Karolinska Institutet) and Institute of Analytical Sciences in France (Institut des Sciences Analytiques).
Spider silk is a high-performance material with perspective applications in a range of areas from biomedicine to construction. The spiders spin their web from silk fibres that are made of proteins. Thus far, the process of the spider silk fibre formation was incompletely understood, making it difficult to develop effective technologies for the production of artificial spider silk. Researchers at LIOS have studied the process of native spider silk spinning and established the mechanism of molecular transformations that ensure controlled conversion of soluble silk proteins into solid fibres. The acquired knowledge was used to assess the degree of biomimicry of state-of-the-art approaches for artificial spider silk spinning, allowing to propose improved technologies for the production artificial spider silk.
The achievement was featured in the newspaper Latvijas Avīze, as well as on national TV (LTV Rīta Panorāma) and on skaties.lv.