Center for Research on Advanced Fiber Technologies (CRAFT) — The remarkable properties of a recently-discovered squid protein could revolutionize materials in a way that would be unattainable with conventional plastic, finds a review published in Frontiers in Chemistry. Originating in the ringed teeth of a squid’s predatory arms, this protein can be processed into fibers and films with applications ranging from ‘smart’ clothes for health monitoring, to self-healing recyclable fabrics that reduce microplastic pollution. Materials made from this protein are eco-friendly and biodegradable, with sustainable large-scale production achieved using laboratory culture methods.
“Squid proteins can be used to produce next generation materials for an array of fields including energy and biomedicine, as well as the security and defense sector,” says lead author Melik Demirel, Lloyd and Dorothy Foehr Huck Endowed Chair in Biomimetic Materials, and Director of Center for Research on Advanced Fiber Technologies (CRAFT) at Penn State University, USA. “We reviewed the current knowledge on squid ring teeth-based materials, which are an excellent alternative to plastics because they are eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable.”
As humanity awakens to the aftermath of a 100-year party of plastic production, we are beginning to heed nature’s warnings—and its solutions.
The oceans, which have borne the brunt of plastic pollution, are at the center of the search for sustainable alternatives. A newly-discovered protein from squid ring teeth (SRT) – circular predatory appendages located on the suction cups of squid, used to strongly grasp prey—has gained interest because of its remarkable properties and sustainable production.
“SRT photonics are biocompatible and biodegradable, so could be used to make not only wearable health monitors but also implantable devices for biosensing and biodetection,” adds Demirel.
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