How Are Squid Teeth Transforming The Conventional Fibers?

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  • An average sized squid only contains around 100 milligrams of SRT protein
  • Regular clothing fibres can be coated in SRT proteins to produce an extremely hard-wearing fabric
  • The usefulness of the proteins comes from their unusual molecular structure

Researchers are finding that a protein in SRTs can be turned into fibres and films for making tough, flexible and biodegradable plastics, reports New Scientist.

About SRT

To seize prey, squid relies on a battery of tough, serrated suckers at the end of their tentacles known as squid ring teeth (SRT). 

An average sized squid only contains around 100 milligrams of SRT protein, but Melik Demirel at Pennsylvania State University and his team have genetically engineered E. coli bacteria to grow it. Meaning that much more of the protein can be produced.

How are bioplastics and self-repairing clothes made from SRT?

Regular clothing fibres can be coated in SRT proteins to produce an extremely hard-wearing fabric, which can self-heal if damaged, with a bit of heat and pressure.

The usefulness of the proteins comes from their unusual molecular structure. The building blocks of the protein act on each other like oil and water, separating at the nanoscale.

This produces tightly coiled helices, flat sheets and disordered tangles, shapes that in turn give rise to the material’s properties at the macro scale.

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Source: New Scientist

 

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