Biotech company, Spiber Inc, based in Tsuruoka City in Yamagata Prefecture, recently established itself as the world’s first mass producer of synthetic spider thread. They made their announcement at a presentation in Tokyo, where they showcased a bright blue dress made entirely of synthetic web fibers.
Spider thread is understood to be both stronger than steel and more elastic than nylon. Thus, researchers worldwide have been experimenting with ways to synthesize this naturally occurring fiber for years. However, high costs have made mass production unfeasible up until now.
Previous methods of synthetic spider thread production relied heavily on highly priced and highly toxic chemicals, but Spiber Inc. uses microbes to get the job done. Genetically altered microbes create the same protein found in spider thread at an alarmingly fast rate. The president of Spiber, Kazuhide Sekiyama, hopes to find many practical uses for “the world’s strongest fiber” in the automotive and medical industries, among others.
Let’s see Spidey do that!
Source: MSN Sankei News (Japanese)
Images: Spiber Inc.
▼ A closeup of Spiber’s exhibition piece.
▼ Spools of colored Spiber synthetic web fibers.