Spider Silk Coatings

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Journal/Book Title/Conference

USU Student Showcase

Publication Date


Faculty Mentor

Randy Lewis


Spider silk coatings are important to the field of biomedical research due to spider silk's biocompatibility and adhesive properties. Using synthetic spider silk protein produced from the purification of transgenic goat's milk it is possible to coat many different materials with varying success. Stainless steel and silicone can be coated using the synthetic protein and these materials make up a wide variety of biomedical implants and are used in most invasive procedures. Coated implants drastically reduce the risk of infection as well as bring down recovery time.

Coatings are made using a variety of different additives with the recombinant spider silk protein and it is possible to enhance the adhesive properties of both the surface being coated as well as the coating itself. Stainless steel has proven to be an effective surface for coating as long as it is put through a treatment process before the coating occurs. This treatment allows for greater adhesiveness and creates a more uniform coating. Further treatment of the coated surface can aid in the formation of B-pleated sheets (major structure in the spider silk protein), which results in a stronger and more viable coating. These ultra-thin coatings applied using a spray atomizer are completely transparent and can only be seen under the microscope. Because the coatings are aqueous they are completely safe for in vivo applications and can also hold additives such as antibiotics, growth factors, and antibodies. The existence of these makes the coating multi-functioning in the body.

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