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Open AccessArticle

Properties of Biomimetic Artificial Spider Silk Fibers Tuned by PostSpin Bath Incubation

1
Laboratory of Bio-Inspired, Bionic, Nano, Meta, Materials & Mechanics, Department of Civil, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering, University of Trento, Via Mesiano 77, 38123 Trento, Italy
2
Department of Neurobiology, Care Sciences and Society, Karolinska Institutet, Neo, 14186 Huddinge, Sweden
3
Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics, The Arrhenius Laboratories for Natural Sciences, Stockholm University, 10691 Stockholm, Sweden
4
School of Engineering and Materials Science, Queen Mary University of London, Mile End Road, London E1 4NS, UK
5
Department of Anatomy, Physiology and Biochemistry, Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, 75007 Uppsala, Sweden
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
These authors contributed equally.
Academic Editor: Yasumoto Nakazawa
Molecules 2020, 25(14), 3248; https://doi.org/10.3390/molecules25143248
Received: 27 June 2020 / Revised: 10 July 2020 / Accepted: 13 July 2020 / Published: 16 July 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Silk Fibroin Materials)
Efficient production of artificial spider silk fibers with properties that match its natural counterpart has still not been achieved. Recently, a biomimetic process for spinning recombinant spider silk proteins (spidroins) was presented, in which important molecular mechanisms involved in native spider silk spinning were recapitulated. However, drawbacks of these fibers included inferior mechanical properties and problems with low resistance to aqueous environments. In this work, we show that ≥5 h incubation of the fibers, in a collection bath of 500 mM NaAc and 200 mM NaCl, at pH 5 results in fibers that do not dissolve in water or phosphate buffered saline, which implies that the fibers can be used for applications that involve wet/humid conditions. Furthermore, incubation in the collection bath improved the strain at break and was associated with increased β-sheet content, but did not affect the fiber morphology. In summary, we present a simple way to improve artificial spider silk fiber strain at break and resistance to aqueous solvents. View Full-Text
Keywords: fiber; tensile testing; mechanical properties; spinning fiber; tensile testing; mechanical properties; spinning
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MDPI and ACS Style

Greco, G.; Francis, J.; Arndt, T.; Schmuck, B.; G. Bäcklund, F.; Barth, A.; Johansson, J.; M. Pugno, N.; Rising, A. Properties of Biomimetic Artificial Spider Silk Fibers Tuned by PostSpin Bath Incubation. Molecules 2020, 25, 3248.

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