Special Issue "Silkworm and Silk: Traditional and Innovative Applications"

A special issue of Insects (ISSN 2075-4450).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2022 | Viewed by 15875

Special Issue Editors

Dr. Silvia Cappellozza
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, Research Centre Agriculture and Environment, Sericulture Laboratory, Padova 35143, Italy
Interests: sericulture; silkworm artificial diet; silkworm strain preservation and genetic improvement; silkworm pathology; silkworm rearing techniques and biotechnologies; silkworm for human and animal food/feeding
Prof. Dr. Morena Casartelli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biosciences, University of Milan, 20133 Milano, Italy
Interests: insect midgut physiology; insect biotechnology; silkworm as a model to study tissue remodeling during insect metamorphosis and mode of action of insecticidal molecules isolated from insect natural enemies; silkworm for human and animal food/feeding
Prof. Dr. Federica Sandrelli
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biology, University of Padova, 35131 Padova, Italy
Interests: insect biotechnology; insect immune response; silkworm antimicrobial peptides (AMPs); insect circadian rhythms
Dr. Alessio Saviane
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Council for Agricultural Research and Economics, Research Centre Agriculture and Environment, Sericulture Laboratory, Padova 35143, Italy
Interests: sericulture; silkworm genetics and biotechnologies; silkworm microbiology; pre and probiotics; silkworm microbiota; silkworm artificial diet; insects as feed/food; silkworm transgenesis
Prof. Dr. Gianluca Tettamanti
E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Department of Biotechnology and Life Sciences, University of Insubria, 21100 Varese, Italy
Interests: insect biotechnology; cell death and regeneration mechanisms in the silkworm; silkworm infection model; insect immune response; insect-mediated bioconversion of organic waste

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

The silkworm, Bombyx mori, has been intensively studied since time immemorial because of its economic relevance to silk production; on the other hand, with this insect being completely domesticated, the duration and any parameters of its development can be fully controlled by regulating environmental conditions. For this reason, this insect has been increasingly becoming a useful and suitable laboratory tool for research in genetics, physiology, animal nutrition, medicine, science of materials, chemistry, etc., just to mention some of the multiple application fields. Moreover, advances related to this insect have been accelerated by the sequencing of its genome. This impressive growth of knowledge related to the silkworm has encouraged the proliferation of sericultural advances described in scientific journals dealing with different topics. Therefore, there is a need to focus again on the unity of the sericultural sciences as a group of disciplines, with the silkworm as a binding element. The scope of this Special Issue is to give a comprehensive overview of the fields and applications for which the silkworm can be exploited, and even to reinforce the link between traditional sericulture and new technological horizons. In fact, silkworm rearing techniques and preservation, strain selection and maintenance, which represent the traditional activities, are the starting basis for any innovative application. In light of these considerations, the final purpose of this Special Issue is to establish a virtual dialogue between traditional sericulture and new trends in silkworm and silk valorization.

We would like to invite a) sericulturists dealing with traditional or new applications of sericulture and b) scientists involved in research on the silkworm as a biological model, or B. mori silk as a new material, to contribute to this issue with original research, reviews, or perspective articles focusing on how sericulture can contribute to the development of science, society, medicine, the environment, and economics. Any topics related to molecular, physiological, behavioral, environmental, social, historical, and other aspects of sericulture are welcome, as are reviews attempting to unify different research topics under comprehensive trends for future development.

Dr. Silvia Cappellozza
Prof. Dr. Morena Casartelli
Prof. Dr. Federica Sandrelli
Dr. Alessio Saviane
Prof. Dr. Gianluca Tettamanti
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All submissions that pass pre-check are peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Insects is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1800 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • genetics
  • silkworm physiology
  • silkworm pathology
  • biotechnologies applied to sericulture
  • silk utilisation and novel applications
  • biological model
  • sericultural practices
  • environmental indicator
  • silkworm as food and feed
  • precision sericulture
  • history of sericulture

Published Papers (15 papers)

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Research

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Article
A Route to Translate a Silk-Based Medical Device from Lab to Clinic: The Silk Biomaterials Srl Experience
Insects 2022, 13(2), 212; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13020212 - 21 Feb 2022
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 554
Abstract
The medical device is a nerve conduit entirely made of Bombyx mori silk fibroin. It is a tubular scaffold used for repairing peripheral nerve gaps, whose function is to protect the severed nerves and to favor their natural healing process. As any implantable [...] Read more.
The medical device is a nerve conduit entirely made of Bombyx mori silk fibroin. It is a tubular scaffold used for repairing peripheral nerve gaps, whose function is to protect the severed nerves and to favor their natural healing process. As any implantable medical device, the conduit must perform its function without causing adverse effects to the patient, meaning that it must be compliant with a range of regulations aimed at evaluating the risks related to the constituent materials and the manufacturing process, the toxicological impact of the processing aids, the biological safety, the functional performance, and the ability to sustain tissue regeneration processes. An exhaustive on-bench testing plan has been performed for the determination of the morphological, geometrical, physical, structural, and mechanical properties. For the toxicological analysis, the device was extracted with solvent and the number of leachable substances was determined by suitable chromatographic techniques. The biological safety was assessed by means of a set of tests, including cytotoxicity, delayed hypersensitivity, intracutaneous reactivity, pyrogen test, LAL (Limulus Amebocyte Lysate) test, acute systemic toxicity, and genotoxicity. Overall, the accumulated results demonstrated the suitability of the device for the intended use and supported the starting of a first-in-human clinical trial. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Silkworm and Silk: Traditional and Innovative Applications)
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Article
Enterococci as Dominant Xylose Utilizing Lactic Acid Bacteria in Eri Silkworm Midgut and the Potential Use of Enterococcus hirae as Probiotic for Eri Culture
Insects 2022, 13(2), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13020136 - 27 Jan 2022
Viewed by 661
Abstract
A total of 51 pentose utilizing lactic acid bacteria (LAB) were isolated from acid-forming bacteria in the midgut of healthy mature Eri silkworm using de Man, Rogosa and Sharpe (MRS) agar containing 10 g/L xylose (MRS-xylose) as the carbon source supplemented with 0.04% [...] Read more.
A total of 51 pentose utilizing lactic acid bacteria (LAB) were isolated from acid-forming bacteria in the midgut of healthy mature Eri silkworm using de Man, Rogosa and Sharpe (MRS) agar containing 10 g/L xylose (MRS-xylose) as the carbon source supplemented with 0.04% (w/v) bromocresol purple. Further analysis of 16S rRNA gene sequences revealed the highest prevalence of up to 35 enterococci isolates, which included 20 isolates of Enterococcus mundtii, followed by Entercoccus faecalis (eight isolates), Weissella cibaria (four isolates), Enterococcus hirae (two isolates), Enterococcus lactis (one isolate), and Enterococcus faecium (one isolate). All 51 LAB isolates showed positive growth on MRS containing a range of polysaccharides as the sole carbon source. All isolates were able to grow and form clear zones on MRS supplemented with 1 g/L xylose, while E. faecalis SC1, E. faecalis SCT2, and E. hirae SX2 showed tannin tolerance ability up to 5 g/L. Moreover, five isolates showed antimicrobial activity against Eri silkworm pathogens, including Bacillus cereus, Staphylococcus aureus, and Proteus vulgaris, with E. hirae SX2 having the highest inhibitory effect. Supplementation of live E. hirae SX2 on castor leaves significantly improved the weight and reduced the silkworm mortality when compared with the control group (p < 0.05). This cocci LAB can be considered as the new probiotic for Eri culture. Additionally, this finding presented the perspective of non-mulberry silkworm that could also be used as the model for further applying to new trends of the sericulture industry. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Silkworm and Silk: Traditional and Innovative Applications)
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Article
Co-Expression Network and Time-Course Expression Analyses to Identify Silk Protein Regulatory Factors in Bombyx mori
Insects 2022, 13(2), 131; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13020131 - 26 Jan 2022
Viewed by 726
Abstract
Bombyx mori is an important economic insect and an animal model in pharmacomedical research. Although its physiology has been studied for many years, the mechanism via which silk protein genes are regulated remains unclear. In this study, we performed two-step expression screening, namely [...] Read more.
Bombyx mori is an important economic insect and an animal model in pharmacomedical research. Although its physiology has been studied for many years, the mechanism via which silk protein genes are regulated remains unclear. In this study, we performed two-step expression screening, namely co-expression network and time-course expression analyses to screen silk protein regulation factors. A co-expression network analysis using RNA-seq data that were obtained from various tissues, including the silk glands of B. mori, was performed to identify novel silk protein regulatory factors. Overall, 91 transcription factors, including some known ones, were found to be co-expressed with silk protein genes. Furthermore, time-course expression analysis during the fifth instar larvae stage revealed that the expression pattern of 13 novel transcription factors was highly relevant to that of silk protein genes and their known regulatory factor genes. In particular, the expression peak of several transcription factors (TFs) was detected before the expression of silk protein genes peak. These results indicated that a larger number of genes than expected may be involved in silk protein regulation in B. mori. Functional analyses of function-unknown transcription factors should enhance our understanding of this system. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Silkworm and Silk: Traditional and Innovative Applications)
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Article
Bacterial Survey in the Guts of Domestic Silkworms, Bombyx mori L.
Insects 2022, 13(1), 100; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13010100 - 17 Jan 2022
Viewed by 922
Abstract
Silkworm, Bombyx mori L., research involves studies on improving strains for enhanced sustainability of high-quality silk production. Several of these have investigated the factors affecting growth and development of silkworm larvae and cocoon characteristics that subsequently affect the yield and quality of silk. [...] Read more.
Silkworm, Bombyx mori L., research involves studies on improving strains for enhanced sustainability of high-quality silk production. Several of these have investigated the factors affecting growth and development of silkworm larvae and cocoon characteristics that subsequently affect the yield and quality of silk. The gut microbiota has been reported to impact growth and development of silkworms and has been linked, in particular, with absorption and utilization of nutrients and immunity to diseases. The silkworm strains maintained in the Philippines lack sufficient biological data for use in strain improvement. This prompted efforts to augment the data by profiling bacterial communities through high-throughput 16S rRNA gene amplicon sequencing and analysis in four of the local silkworm strains that are bred and maintained in the country. Results of the study showed that the four silkworm strains are abundant in bacteria that belong to the genera Pseudomonas, Sphingomonas, Delftia, Methylobacterium and Acinetobacter. Results also showed that bacterial diversity and evenness increase as larvae mature, which can be correlated to larval development and shifts in the amount and age of mulberry leaves the larvae consume. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Silkworm and Silk: Traditional and Innovative Applications)
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Article
Supercritical Carbon Dioxide Impregnation of Gold Nanoparticles Demonstrates a New Route for the Fabrication of Hybrid Silk Materials
Insects 2022, 13(1), 18; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13010018 - 23 Dec 2021
Viewed by 899
Abstract
How many nanoparticles can we load in a fiber? How much will leak? Underlying is the relatively new question of the “space available” in fibers for nanoparticle loading. Here, using supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2) as a carrier fluid, we explored the [...] Read more.
How many nanoparticles can we load in a fiber? How much will leak? Underlying is the relatively new question of the “space available” in fibers for nanoparticle loading. Here, using supercritical carbon dioxide (scCO2) as a carrier fluid, we explored the impregnation in four Indian silks (Mulberry, Eri, Muga, and Tasar) with five standard sizes of gold nanoparticles (5, 20, 50, 100 and 150 nm in diameter). All silks could be permanently impregnated with nanoparticles up to 150 nm in size under scCO2 impregnation. Accompanying structural changes indicated that the amorphous silk domains reorganized to accommodate the gold NPs. The mechanism was studied in detail in degummed Mulberry silk fibers (i.e., without the sericin coating) with the 5 nm nanoparticle. The combined effects of concentration, time of impregnation, scCO2 pressure, and temperature showed that only a narrow set of conditions allowed for permanent impregnation without deterioration of the properties of the silk fibers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Silkworm and Silk: Traditional and Innovative Applications)
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Article
Transcriptome Analysis Reveals the Gene Expression Changes in the Silkworm (Bombyx mori) in Response to Hydrogen Sulfide Exposure
Insects 2021, 12(12), 1110; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12121110 - 13 Dec 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 772
Abstract
Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) has been recognized for its beneficial influence on physiological alterations. The development (body weight) and economic characteristics (cocoon weight, cocoon shell ratio, and cocoon shell weight) of silkworms were increased after continuous 7.5 µM H2S treatment. [...] Read more.
Hydrogen sulfide (H2S) has been recognized for its beneficial influence on physiological alterations. The development (body weight) and economic characteristics (cocoon weight, cocoon shell ratio, and cocoon shell weight) of silkworms were increased after continuous 7.5 µM H2S treatment. In the present study, gene expression changes in the fat body of silkworms at the 5th instar larvae in response to the H2S were investigated through comparative transcriptome analysis. Moreover, the expression pattern of significant differentially expressed genes (DEGs) at the 5th instar larvae was confirmed by quantitative real-time PCR (qRT-PCR) after H2S exposure. A total of 1200 (DEGs) was identified, of which 977 DEGs were up-regulated and 223 DEGs were down-regulated. Most of the DEGs were involved in the transport pathway, cellular community, carbohydrate metabolism, and immune-associated signal transduction. The up regulated genes under H2S exposure were involved in endocytosis, glycolysis/gluconeogenesis, the citrate cycle (TCA cycle), and the synthesis of fibroin, while genes related to inflammation were down-regulated, indicating that H2S could promote energy metabolism, the transport pathway, silk synthesis, and inhibit inflammation in the silkworm. In addition, the expression levels of these genes were increased or decreased in a time-dependent manner during the 5th instar larvae. These results provided insight into the effects of H2S on silkworms at the transcriptional level and a substantial foundation for understanding H2S function. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Silkworm and Silk: Traditional and Innovative Applications)
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Article
Hemolymph Ecdysteroid Titer Affects Maternal mRNAs during Bombyx mori Oogenesis
Insects 2021, 12(11), 969; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12110969 - 27 Oct 2021
Viewed by 587
Abstract
Silkworm larval–pupal metamorphosis and the first half of pupal–adult development occur during oogenesis from previtellogenesis to vitellogenesis and include two peaks of the hemolymph ecdysteroid titer. Moreover, a rise in 20-hydroxyecdysone titer in early pupae can trigger the first major transition from previtellogenesis [...] Read more.
Silkworm larval–pupal metamorphosis and the first half of pupal–adult development occur during oogenesis from previtellogenesis to vitellogenesis and include two peaks of the hemolymph ecdysteroid titer. Moreover, a rise in 20-hydroxyecdysone titer in early pupae can trigger the first major transition from previtellogenesis to vitellogenesis in silkworm oogenesis. In this study, we first investigated the expression patterns of 66 maternal genes in the ovary at the wandering stage. We then examined the developmental expression profiles in six time-series samples of ovaries or ovarioles by reverse transcription–quantitative PCR. We found that the transcripts of 22 maternal genes were regulated by 20-hydroxyecdysone in the isolated abdomens of the pupae following a single injection of 20-hydroxyecdysone. This study is the first to determine the relationship between 20-hydroxyecdysone and maternal genes during silkworm oogenesis. These findings provide a basis for further research into the embryonic development of Bombyx mori. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Silkworm and Silk: Traditional and Innovative Applications)
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Article
Pathogenicity Detection and Genome Analysis of Two Different Geographic Strains of BmNPV
Insects 2021, 12(10), 890; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12100890 - 30 Sep 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 551
Abstract
The pathogenicity of different concentrations of Bombyx mori nuclear polyhedrosis virus- Zhenjiang strain (BmNPV ZJ) and Yunnan strain (BmNPV YN) was assessed in Baiyu larvae. The structures of the two viral strains were observed by negative-staining electron microscopy, and their proliferation was examined [...] Read more.
The pathogenicity of different concentrations of Bombyx mori nuclear polyhedrosis virus- Zhenjiang strain (BmNPV ZJ) and Yunnan strain (BmNPV YN) was assessed in Baiyu larvae. The structures of the two viral strains were observed by negative-staining electron microscopy, and their proliferation was examined by quantitative polymerase chain reaction (qPCR). The genomic sequences of these two viruses were obtained to investigate the differences in their pathogenicity. The lethal concentration 50 (LC50) of BmNPV ZJ against Baiyu larvae was higher than that of BmNPV YN, indicating a relatively more robust pathogenicity in BmNPV YN. Electron microscopic images showed that the edges of BmNPV YN were clearer than those of BmNPV ZJ. The qPCR analysis demonstrated significantly higher relative expressions of immediately early 1 gene (ie-1), p143, vp39, and polyhedrin genes (polh) in BmNPV ZJ than in BmNPV YN at 12–96 h. The complete genomes of BmNPV ZJ and BmNPV YN were, respectively, 135,895 bp and 143,180 bp long, with 141 and 145 coding sequences and 40.93% and 39.71% GC content. Considering the BmNPV ZJ genome as a reference, 893 SNP loci and 132 InDel mutations were observed in the BmNPV YN genome, resulting in 106 differential gene sequences. Among these differential genes, 76 (including 22 hub genes and 35 non-hub genes) possessed amino acid mutations. Thirty genes may have been related to viral genome replication and transcription and five genes may have been associated with the viral oral infection. These results can help in understanding the mechanisms of pathogenicity of different strains of BmNPV in silkworms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Silkworm and Silk: Traditional and Innovative Applications)
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Article
Function of Polyamines in Regulating Cell Cycle Progression of Cultured Silkworm Cells
Insects 2021, 12(7), 624; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12070624 - 08 Jul 2021
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 912
Abstract
Background: Putrescine, spermidine, and spermine are polyamines that are ubiquitously distributed in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, which play important roles in cell proliferation and differentiation. Methods: We investigated the expression profiles of polyamine pathway genes by qRT-PCR in different tissues of the lepidopteran [...] Read more.
Background: Putrescine, spermidine, and spermine are polyamines that are ubiquitously distributed in prokaryotic and eukaryotic cells, which play important roles in cell proliferation and differentiation. Methods: We investigated the expression profiles of polyamine pathway genes by qRT-PCR in different tissues of the lepidopteran silkworm. The polyamine levels in cultured silkworm cells were measured by HPLC. Spermidine and polyamine biosynthetic inhibitors were used for treating the cultured silkworm cells in order to clarify their effects on cell cycle progression. Results: We identified the anabolic and catabolic enzymes that are involved in the polyamine biosynthetic pathway in silkworm. Transcriptional expression showed at least seven genes that were expressed in different silkworm tissues. Treatments of the cultured silkworm cells with spermidine or inhibitor mixtures of DFMO and MGBG induced or inhibited the expression of cell cycle-related genes, respectively, and thus led to changed progression of the cell cycle. Conclusions: The present study is the first to identify the polyamine pathway genes and to demonstrate the roles of polyamines on cell cycle progression via regulation of the expression of cell cycle genes in silkworm. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Silkworm and Silk: Traditional and Innovative Applications)
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Article
Evaluation of Antibacterial Drugs Using Silkworms Infected by Cutibacterium acnes
Insects 2021, 12(7), 619; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12070619 - 08 Jul 2021
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1014
Abstract
Cutibacterium acnes is a causative agent of inflammatory skin diseases and systemic infections. Systemic infections caused by C. acnes are difficult to treat, and the development of a systemic infection model for C. acnes would be useful for elucidating the mechanisms of infection [...] Read more.
Cutibacterium acnes is a causative agent of inflammatory skin diseases and systemic infections. Systemic infections caused by C. acnes are difficult to treat, and the development of a systemic infection model for C. acnes would be useful for elucidating the mechanisms of infection and searching for therapeutic agents. In this study, we established a silkworm infection model as a new experimental system to evaluate the interaction between C. acnes and the host, and the efficacy of antibacterial drugs. Silkworms infected with C. acnes died when reared at 37 °C. The dose of injected bacterial cells required to kill half of the silkworms (LD50) was determined under rearing conditions at 37 °C. The viable cell number of C. acnes was increased in the hemolymph and fat body of the infected silkworms. Silkworms injected with autoclaved C. acnes cells did not die during the study period. The survival time of silkworms injected with C. acnes was prolonged by the injection of antibacterial drugs such as tetracycline and clindamycin. These findings suggest that the silkworm C. acnes infection model can be used to evaluate host toxicity caused by C. acnes and the in vivo efficacy of antimicrobial drugs. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Silkworm and Silk: Traditional and Innovative Applications)
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Article
Reference Transcriptome Data in Silkworm Bombyx mori
Insects 2021, 12(6), 519; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12060519 - 03 Jun 2021
Cited by 6 | Viewed by 1957
Abstract
Herein, we performed RNA-seq analysis of ten major tissues/subparts of silkworm larvae. The sequences were mapped onto the reference genome assembly and the reference transcriptome data were successfully constructed. The reference data provided a nearly complete sequence for sericin-1, a [...] Read more.
Herein, we performed RNA-seq analysis of ten major tissues/subparts of silkworm larvae. The sequences were mapped onto the reference genome assembly and the reference transcriptome data were successfully constructed. The reference data provided a nearly complete sequence for sericin-1, a major silk gene with a complex structure. We also markedly improved the gene model for other genes. The transcriptomic expression was investigated in each tissue and a number of transcripts were identified that were exclusively expressed in tissues such as the testis. Transcripts strongly expressed in the midgut formed tight genomic clusters, suggesting that they originated from tandem gene duplication. Transcriptional factor genes expressed in specific tissues or the silk gland subparts were also identified. We successfully constructed reference transcriptome data in the silkworm and found that a number of transcripts showed unique expression profiles. These results will facilitate basic studies on the silkworm and accelerate its applications, which will contribute to further advances in lepidopteran and entomological research as well as the practical use of these insects. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Silkworm and Silk: Traditional and Innovative Applications)
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Review

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Review
The Contribution of Silk Fibroin in Biomedical Engineering
Insects 2022, 13(3), 286; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13030286 - 14 Mar 2022
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 993
Abstract
Silk fibroin (SF) is a natural protein (biopolymer) extracted from the cocoons of Bombyx mori L. (silkworm). It has many properties of interest in the field of biotechnology, the most important being biodegradability, biocompatibility and robust mechanical strength with high tensile strength. SF [...] Read more.
Silk fibroin (SF) is a natural protein (biopolymer) extracted from the cocoons of Bombyx mori L. (silkworm). It has many properties of interest in the field of biotechnology, the most important being biodegradability, biocompatibility and robust mechanical strength with high tensile strength. SF is usually dissolved in water-based solvents and can be easily reconstructed into a variety of material formats, including films, mats, hydrogels, and sponges, by various fabrication techniques (spin coating, electrospinning, freeze-drying, and physical or chemical crosslinking). Furthermore, SF is a feasible material used in many biomedical applications, including tissue engineering (3D scaffolds, wounds dressing), cancer therapy (mimicking the tumor microenvironment), controlled drug delivery (SF-based complexes), and bone, eye and skin regeneration. In this review, we describe the structure, composition, general properties, and structure–properties relationship of SF. In addition, the main methods used for ecological extraction and processing of SF that make it a green material are discussed. Lastly, technological advances in the use of SF-based materials are addressed, especially in healthcare applications such as tissue engineering and cancer therapeutics. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Silkworm and Silk: Traditional and Innovative Applications)
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Review
Black, Caspian Seas and Central Asia Silk Association (BACSA) for the Future of Sericulture in Europe and Central Asia
Insects 2022, 13(1), 44; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13010044 - 30 Dec 2021
Viewed by 357
Abstract
The history and recent activities of the Black Caspian Seas and Central Asia Silk Association are presented in this paper: the countries that participated in its foundation, the FAO’s action to revitalize sericulture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the following widening of [...] Read more.
The history and recent activities of the Black Caspian Seas and Central Asia Silk Association are presented in this paper: the countries that participated in its foundation, the FAO’s action to revitalize sericulture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia, the following widening of the Association geographical limits of to enclose other European countries, which were not well-represented in other similar organizations. Some statistical data are illustrated for a better description of the scenario in which the BACSA executive board acted: the world silk production quantity and the relative production of BACSA countries in respect to the Chinese expansion. The themes treated in the BACSA conferences are reported to explain which matters the Executive Board considered the most relevant for the relaunch of this activity in relationships to the international challenges in the subsequent years; the project proposals that were presented to international donors are summarized. A SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats) analysis is shown, where key-factors in determining the strengths and weaknesses of this organization and its member countries for a successful re-establishment of sericulture, are considered. In addition, future trends of sericulture with regard to innovative productions and the Green Deal are examined. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Silkworm and Silk: Traditional and Innovative Applications)
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Review
Advances in Editing Silkworms (Bombyx mori) Genome by Using the CRISPR-Cas System
Insects 2022, 13(1), 28; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects13010028 - 27 Dec 2021
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1431
Abstract
CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats)-Cas (CRISPR-associated) represents a powerful genome editing technology that revolutionized in a short period of time numerous natural sciences branches. Therefore, extraordinary progress was made in various fields, such as entomology or biotechnology. Bombyx mori is one [...] Read more.
CRISPR (clustered regularly interspaced short palindromic repeats)-Cas (CRISPR-associated) represents a powerful genome editing technology that revolutionized in a short period of time numerous natural sciences branches. Therefore, extraordinary progress was made in various fields, such as entomology or biotechnology. Bombyx mori is one of the most important insects, not only for the sericulture industry, but for numerous scientific areas. The silkworms play a key role as a model organism, but also as a bioreactor for the recombinant protein production. Nowadays, the CRISPR-Cas genome editing system is frequently used in order to perform gene analyses, to increase the resistance against certain pathogens or as an imaging tool in B. mori. Here, we provide an overview of various studies that made use of CRISPR-Cas for B. mori genome editing, with a focus on emphasizing the high applicability of this system in entomology and biological sciences. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Silkworm and Silk: Traditional and Innovative Applications)
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Technical Note
Products of Sericulture and Their Hypoglycemic Action Evaluated by Using the Silkworm, Bombyx mori (Lepidoptera: Bombycidae), as a Model
Insects 2021, 12(12), 1059; https://doi.org/10.3390/insects12121059 - 25 Nov 2021
Viewed by 563
Abstract
Sericulture generates different natural products with potential medical applications. Silk peptides, worms, or even pupae are commonly employed in traditional Asian medicine with a wide variety of purposes, and some scientific work has been focused on their antidiabetic properties. This work evaluates the [...] Read more.
Sericulture generates different natural products with potential medical applications. Silk peptides, worms, or even pupae are commonly employed in traditional Asian medicine with a wide variety of purposes, and some scientific work has been focused on their antidiabetic properties. This work evaluates the postprandial antihyperglycemic activity of fibroin, sericin, and powder made from either larvae or pupae of silkworms, and Bombyx mori L. (Lepidoptera: Bombycidae), employing the silkworm itself as an animal model. The results indicate a reduction in the glucose levels in hemolymph after sucrose or glucose-induced hyperglycemia when these products are included in the diet of the worms. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Silkworm and Silk: Traditional and Innovative Applications)
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