To accompany “Bacteria make ‘spider silk’ that’s stronger than steel”
1. A number of animals can make silk. Name at least two types.
2. Many scientists and engineers have been trying to make fibers like those found in spider webs. Why would they want to do that?
1. What are proteins? What are spidroins and where are they made?
2. What are spinnerets and what do they do?
3. From what chemical ingredients is spider silk made?
4. How is Jingyao Li’s team using bacteria in silk-making? What did these researchers do to get bacteria to make building blocks for silk?
5. Young-Shin Jun reported on one measure of the strength of synthetic silk. What did she find?
6. How did Jingyao Li’s team turn the bacterial proteins into a silken fiber?
1. Anna Rising emphasizes that the new synthetic silk is both strong and stretchy. Why might that stretchiness be as valuable as its strength? What types of things might these fibers be used for that relies on that stretchiness (things that wouldn’t work if the fibers didn’t stretch)?