Silkworms Spin Super-Silk After Eating Carbon Nanotubes and Graphene

Silk—the stuff of lustrous, glamorous clothing—is very strong. Researchers now report a clever way to make the gossamer threads even stronger and tougher: by feeding silkworms graphene or single-walled carbon nanotubes. The reinforced silk produced by the silkworms could be used in applications such as durable protective fabrics, biodegradable medical implants, and ecofriendly wearable electronics, they say. Researchers have previously added dyes, antimicrobial agents, conductive polymers, and nanoparticles to silk—either by treating spun silk with the additives or, in some cases, by directly feeding the additives to silkworms. Silkworms, the larvae of mulberry-eating silk moths, spin their threads from a solution of silk protein produced in their salivary glands.”