Researchers have discovered that the defensive slime exuded by hagfish may be a source of high-performance protein fibers that could replace petrochemical-based polymers, such as nylon and plastic fibers, and fabrics woven from them. (Source: Wikimedia Commons/Peter Southwood)
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A fascinating article, Ann. It never fails to impress me the lengths researchers will go as well as the creativity they use to find sources in nature for new materials and energy sources. It also shows just what an impressive force nature is and how complex it can be for humans to try to recreate natural materials, even with great ingenuity.
Ann, my point is that the bacteria need to feed on someting and the specific needs will dwtermine exactly what that feedstock winds up being. As with most discoveries, the moving from a laboratory operation into a production environment is the bigger part of the task. Sometimes the adaptation to production winds up being the show-stopper.
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An MIT research team has invented what they see as a solution to the need for biodegradable 3D-printable materials made from something besides petroleum-based sources: a water-based robotic additive extrusion method that makes objects from biodegradable hydrogel composites.
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