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The Spider That Spins Golden Silk

Introduction

Have you ever heard of the story of Rumpelstiltskin, about a miller’s daughter who could spin straw into gold? This is just a fairytale, of course, but there are spiders that can actually produce gold silk. Lets know about the Spider that Spins Golden Silk

The Spider Spins Golden Silk

They are the Nephila spiders, or the golden silk orb-weavers. Indeed, the webs of these spiders shine like gold in the sunlight, ensnaring bees, whereas in the shade, they provide excellent camouflage. The largest piece of cloth made from gold spider silk measures 11 by 4 feet (3.4 by 1.2 meters) and took four years to make!

There have been several efforts in the past to produce garments from Nephila silk; although none commercially viable. These include two bed hangings that were shown at the 1900 Paris Exhibition.(Spider Spins Golden Silk)

In 2004 a textile designer; Simon Peers, and an entrepreneu; Nicholas Godley managed in three years work and using 1.2 million Golden silk orb-weavers to produce a shawl that was exhibited at the American Museum of Natural History in 2009.By 2012 they managed to produce a second, bigger garment; a cape, that, together with the shaw; were exhibited at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London.

Another possible use of Nephila silk lies in tissue engineering. A study from the Medizinische Hochschule Hannover reports that; processed Nephila silk is an excellent scaffold material thanks to its biocompatibility; mechanical strengths, and its property to promote cell adhesion and proliferation. In particular; the silk acts as a suitable guiding material for peripheral nerve regrowth.

Fishermen on the coasts of the Indo-Pacific ocean remove Nephila webs and form them into a ball.

Author: Asif Hossain

Member of (A.1) Team

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