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Polymers 2011, 3(1), 640-661; doi:10.3390/polym3010640

Recombinant Spider Silks—Biopolymers with Potential for Future Applications

Lehrstuhl für Biomaterialien, Gebäude FAN/D, Universität Bayreuth, Universitätsstraße 30, 95447, Bayreuth, Germany
Contributed equally.
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 17 December 2010 / Revised: 12 February 2011 / Accepted: 14 March 2011 / Published: 17 March 2011
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Bioinspired Polymers)
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Nature has evolved a range of materials that compete with man-made materials in physical properties; one of these is spider silk. Silk is a fibrous material that exhibits extremely high strength and toughness with regard to its low density. In this review we discuss the molecular structure of spider silk and how this understanding has allowed the development of recombinant silk proteins that mimic the properties of natural spider silks. Additionally, we will explore the material morphologies and the applications of these proteins. Finally, we will look at attempts to combine the silk structure with chemical polymers and how the structure of silk has inspired the engineering of novel polymers.
Keywords: spider silk; biopolymer; recombinant spider silk; biopolymer; recombinant
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Humenik, M.; Smith, A.M.; Scheibel, T. Recombinant Spider Silks—Biopolymers with Potential for Future Applications. Polymers 2011, 3, 640-661.

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