Spider-Silk-Based Materials Prevent Microbe Infestation

  • Author: ChemistryViews.org
  • Published: 16 September 2020
  • Copyright: Wiley-VCH GmbH
  • Source / Publisher: Materials Today/Elsevier
thumbnail image: Spider-Silk-Based Materials Prevent Microbe Infestation

Bacteria often form biofilms, in which the bacteria stick together and to surfaces. These biofilms are a problem in medicine because they can cause infections when they form on medical devices such as implants, prosthetics, or catheters. Microbial-resistant coatings can help to prevent this. Spider webs can resist microbial infestation, but the mechanism behind this effect is not well understood.

Thomas Scheibel, University of Bayreuth, Germany, and colleagues have used recombinant spider silk proteins based on proteins from the European garden spider Araneus diadematus to make microbe-repellent films and hydrogels. The team used two engineered fibroins, eADF3 and eADF4, as well as variants of these proteins in which certain amino acids are replaced. They prepared flat and patterned films from the proteins via film casting onto polydimethylsiloxane (PDMS) substrates. Hydrogels were prepared by self-assembly, using dialysis to remove water from the spider silk solutions.

The researchers then tested the materials' microbe repellence using different biofilm-forming microbes, including bacteria, fungi, and yeasts. They found that recombinant spider silk materials can prevent microbe adhesion, both on the surface of films and within hydrogels. Their properties can be tuned by changing, e.g., the overall charge of the proteins. One spider silk variant was able to resist microbial infestation, but allowed mammalian cells to attach and grow. This selectivity could be useful for biomedical applications.



Article Views: 4221

Sign in Area

Please sign in below

Additional Sign In options

Please note that to comment on an article you must be registered and logged in.
Registration is for free, you may already be registered to receive, e.g., the newsletter. When you register on this website, please ensure you view our terms and conditions. All comments are subject to moderation.

Article Comments - To add a comment please sign in

If you would like to reuse any content, in print or online, from ChemistryViews.org, please contact us first for permission and consult our permission guidance prior to making your request

Follow on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on YouTube Follow on LinkedIn Follow on Instagram RSS Sign up for newsletters

Magazine of Chemistry Europe (16 European Chemical Societies) published by Wiley-VCH