A Sticky Situation: An Investigation of Robust Aqueous-Based Recombinant Spider Silk Protein Coatings and Adhesives
The mechanical properties and biocompatibility of spider silks have made them one of the most sought after and studied natural biomaterials. A biomimetic process has been developed that uses water to solvate purified recombinant spider silk proteins (rSSps) prior to material formation. The absence of harsh organic solvents increases cost effectiveness, safety, and decreases the environmental impact of these materials. This development allows for the investigation of aqueous-based rSSps as coatings and adhesives and their potential applications. In these studies it was determined that fiber-based rSSps in nonfiber formations have the capability to coat and adhere numerous substrates, whether rough, smooth, hydrophobic, or hydrophilic. Further, these materials can be functionalized for a variety of processes. Drug-eluting coatings have been made with the capacity to release a variety of compounds in addition to their inherent ability to prevent blood clotting and biofouling. Additionally, spider silk protein adhesives are strong enough to outperform some conventional glues and still display favorable tissue implantation properties. The physical properties, corresponding capabilities, and potential applications of these nonfibrous materials were characterized in this study. Mechanical properties, ease of manufacturing, biodegradability, biocompatibility, and functionality are the hallmarks of these revolutionary spider silk protein materials.
Harris, T. I., Gaztambide, D. A., Day, B. A., Brock, C. L., Ruben, A. L., Jones, J. A., & Lewis, R. V. A Sticky Situation: An Investigation of Robust Aqueous-Based Recombinant Spider Silk Protein Coatings and Adhesives. Biomacromolecules. Doi: 10.1021/acs.biomac.6b01267.