Thursday, 13 October 2016

chrysalis, crystalline

Researchers in China have discovered that silk-worms whose diet is supplemented by mulberries washed with carbon nanotubes (which is apparently inert and harmless to the already doomed caterpillars and for the most part, just passing through—though the verdict is still out on general safety and whether we might not be creating mutant super-worms that might be less willing to give up their cocoons and sacrifice themselves for fashion) will then produce a high strength silk (nano-fibre) that has at least a share of the properties of nano-structure—conductivity, mechanical resilience.
Of course, the silk returns to normal once their diet is changed but the idea of spiders out there in the wild that could weave a web that could snag a jet plane is a frightening prospect. Nonetheless, it is an interesting extra dimension to ponder in our partnership with the animal and plant kingdoms in the advancement of medical science and technology—in addition to bio-fuels, vaccines replicated in chicken eggs, or more controversially, surplus organs grown in other barnyard surrogates.