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Facile, one-pot production of spider-silk nanoparticle loaded fibers using ionic liquids as solvent

Thursday (19.03.2020)
09:10 - 09:30
Part of:

Ionic liquids (IL) are receiving increased attention as solvents for a variety of proteins, biocompatible polymers and polysaccharides.1-3 Our previous work with globular proteins in neat IL indicate that not only can ILs dissolve a wide range of different protein “types,” but in certain scenarios the secondary structure remains intact.4 Now we switch focus from globular proteins to spider silk protein (and several variants). Previously published work indicates that spider silk can be dissolved in neat ILs and in ILs containing co-solvents (often buffer).5,6 Most recently we successfully used 1-methyl-3-ethylimadzolium chloride, [EMIM][Cl], as solution media to successful spin spider silk-polyvinyl alcohol (PVA) composite fibers. The addition of PVA, as a copolymer, resulted in a decrease in mechanical strength of the fiber but a significant increase in the elasticity (similar to that of a pure elastomer). Furthermore, this single pot production can be run in the absence of a co-solvent or with up to 50 % water content without any negative effects to the spinning process. The ability to add water to the solution media allows for addition of nanoparticles which can either be covalently attached to the spider silk or embedded during the spinning process. Given the tunability of this one-pot IL containing system, we anticipate simply varying the IL will allow for a robust single pot system for many other proteins, biocompatible polymers and polysaccharides.


Dr. Stephen Strassburg
University of Bayreuth
Additional Authors:
  • Prof. Dr. Thomas Scheibel
    University of Bayreuth