The fibers found in squid protein could offer a sustainable alternative to plastics.
The fibers are based on the protein found in the ringed teeth of the squid’s predatory arms, which are made up of proteins similar to silk. A team from Pennsylvania State University recreated the protein in the lab using genetically engineered bacteria—no squid required—to produce prototype fibers, 3D-objects and coatings that are both biodegradable and an excellent plastic alternative.
According to the research group, the squid-inspired material is strong and elastic, and also boasts self-healing, thermal and conductive properties that make it ideal for applications such as a self-healing fabric or protective clothing against chemical and biological warfare agents.
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