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Biomacromolecules. 2017 Dec 11;18(12):3954-3962. doi: 10.1021/acs.biomac.7b00990. Epub 2017 Oct 17.

Foundation of the Outstanding Toughness in Biomimetic and Natural Spider Silk.

Author information

1
Peter Debye Institute for Soft Matter Physics, Leipzig University , Linnéstr. 5, D-04103 Leipzig, Germany.
2
Department for Biomaterials, Faculty of Engineering Science, University of Bayreuth , Universitätsstr. 30, D-95440 Bayreuth, Germany.
3
Institute of Chemistry, Martin Luther University Halle Wittenberg , Heinrich-Damerow-Str. 4, D-06120 Halle (Saale), Germany.
4
Fraunhofer Institute for Microstructure of Materials and Systems IMWS , Walter Hülse Str. 1, D-06120 Halle (Saale), Germany.
5
Research Center for Bio Macromolecules (BIOmac), University of Bayreuth , Universitätsstr. 30, D-95440 Bayreuth, Germany.
6
Bayreuth Center for Colloids and Interfaces (BZKG), University of Bayreuth , Universitätsstr. 30, D-95440 Bayreuth, Germany.
7
Bayreuth Center for Molecular Biosciences (BZMB), University of Bayreuth , Universitätsstr. 30, D-95440 Bayreuth, Germany.
8
Bayreuth Center for Material Science and Engineering (BayMAT), University of Bayreuth , Universitätsstr. 30, D-95440 Bayreuth, Germany.
9
Bavarian Polymer Institute (BPI), University of Bayreuth , Universitätsstr. 30, D-95440 Bayreuth, Germany.

Abstract

Spider dragline silk is distinguished through the highest toughness of all natural as well as artificial fiber materials. To unravel the toughness's molecular foundation and to enable manufacturing biomimetic analogues, we investigated the morphological and functional structure of recombinant fibers, which exhibit toughness similar to that of the natural template, on the molecular scale by means of vibrational spectroscopy and on the mesoscale by X-ray scattering. Whereas the former was used to identify protein secondary structures and their alignment in the natural as well as artificial silks, the latter revealed nanometer-sized crystallites on the higher structural level. Furthermore, a spectral red shift of a crystal-specific absorption band demonstrated that macroscopically applied stress is directly transferred to the molecular scale, where it is finally dissipated. Concerning this feature, both the natural as well as the biomimetic fibers are almost indistinguishable, giving rise to the toughness of both fiber materials.

PMID:
28954189
DOI:
10.1021/acs.biomac.7b00990
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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