Scientists Use Biomimicry to Make Synthetic Bee's Silk

DesignTracker| One of the most fascinating areas of design is biomimicry, or infusing the knowledge of nature’s architecture and operational events into product development, building design and other man-made constructions. A Japanese bullet train nose is modeled after a bird beak, for example.

In this case, CSIRO scientist Dr Tara Sutherland and her team have hand-drawn fine threads of honeybee silk from a ‘soup’ of silk proteins that they had produced transgenically. They are duplicating a natural process literally, not try to make a silk-like fabric which designers have done for years.

“We used recombinant cells of bacterium E. coli to produce the silk proteins which, under the right conditions, self-assembled into similar structures to those in honeybee silk.

Not only might it be possible to ‘literally’ duplicate one of the world’s finest fabrics, but the possibilities are endless for new lightweight, tissue-thin fabrics high-strength applications such as advanced composites for use in aviation and marine environments, and medical applications such as sutures, artificial tendons and ligaments. via Science Daily 

More reading: Bees are the new silkworms and the most fabulous video on biomimicry below

Biomimicry: 3.8 Billion Years of R&D