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A Facile Measurement for Monitoring Dragline Silk Dope Concentration in Nephila pilipes upon Spinning

1
Department of Biochemical Science and Technology, National Taiwan University, Taipei 106, Taiwan
2
Research Center for Biomedical Devices and Prototyping Production, Taipei Medical University, Taipei 110, Taiwan
3
Department of Chemical Engineering and Biotechnology, National Taipei University of Technology, Taipei 106, Taiwan
4
Graduate Institute of Nanomedicine and Medical Engineering, College of Biomedical Engineering, Taipei Medical University, Taipei 110, Taiwan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Materials 2018, 11(10), 1951; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11101951
Received: 31 August 2018 / Revised: 24 September 2018 / Accepted: 5 October 2018 / Published: 12 October 2018
(This article belongs to the Section Biomaterials)
In spite of all the efforts towards deciphering the silk spinning process of spiders, the underlying mechanism is yet to be fully revealed. In this research, we designed a novel approach that allowed us to quantitatively evaluate the concentration change of silk dope during the liquid-to-solid spinning process of the orb-weaver Nephila pilipes. As a prior characterization of the optimal silking conditions, we first gauged the influence of silking-rate, ranging from 1.5 to 8.0 m/min, on dragline silk diameters and silk tensile strengths obtained from the spiders. Next, to evaluate the liquid content of the silk dope, the major ampullate gland was dissected and the concentration of the sac portion was measured by thermogravimetric analysis (TGA). The solid content of the dragline fibers leaving the spinneret was investigated by calculating the ratio of collected dried silk to the weight loss of the spider recorded in situ upon spinning. As the results indicate, the tensile strength and diameter of the spun dragline fibers were 800–1100 MPa and 8–11 μm, respectively. The liquid content of silk stored in the major ampullate sac (50.0 wt%) was significantly lower than that of silk leaving the spinnerets (80.9–96.1 wt%), indicating that a liquid supplying mechanism might be involved during the spinning process. This reveals, for the first time, quantitative evidence in support of the lubricative hypothesis proposed formerly, namely that a liquid coating layer is supplemented to compensate for silking resistance during the spinning process of a spider. The spigot, at the exit of the spinneret, is speculated to serve as a valve-like controller that regulates the lubrication process along with fiber formation. Taken together, these findings provide understanding of the physiological functions in the spider spinning process and could further shed some light on the future biomimetic development of silk material fabrication. View Full-Text
Keywords: spider; silk; major ampullate gland; Nephila pilipes spider; silk; major ampullate gland; Nephila pilipes
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MDPI and ACS Style

Wu, H.-C.; Wu, S.-R.; Yang, T.C.-K.; Yang, J.-C. A Facile Measurement for Monitoring Dragline Silk Dope Concentration in Nephila pilipes upon Spinning. Materials 2018, 11, 1951. https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11101951

AMA Style

Wu H-C, Wu S-R, Yang TC-K, Yang J-C. A Facile Measurement for Monitoring Dragline Silk Dope Concentration in Nephila pilipes upon Spinning. Materials. 2018; 11(10):1951. https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11101951

Chicago/Turabian Style

Wu, Hsuan-Chen, Shang-Ru Wu, Thomas C.-K. Yang, and Jen-Chang Yang. 2018. "A Facile Measurement for Monitoring Dragline Silk Dope Concentration in Nephila pilipes upon Spinning" Materials 11, no. 10: 1951. https://doi.org/10.3390/ma11101951

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