Germany-based company AMSilk has produced the world’s first competitive man-made spider silk fiber, called Biosteel, which is made entirely from recombinant silk proteins. Biosteel has mechanical properties similar to that of natural spider silk when comparing toughness, a measure indicating the kinetic energy absorbed before the fiber breaks.
The current fiber prototypes are smooth to the touch, pleasant to the skin and shine like silk. They are brilliant white and can be dyed with common techniques used in the textile industry. Applications for Biosteel may include high performance technical textiles, sporting goods, medical textiles and surgical products, such as meshes and other support textiles or wound coverings.
The AMSilk Biosteel fibers are made with a scalable spinning process. The Biosteel production is based on inventions made by Professor Thomas Scheibel of the University of Bayreuth and on technical developments of AMSilk engineers.
“Of all the many applications for spider silk, the spinning of a viable commercial fiber has always been technically the most challenging. With the current process, we have shown that a commercial spider silk fiber is possible,” explains Lin Römer, CSO of AMSilk. “Next we will optimize the fiber further and scale raw material production and spinning in our new pilot plant.”
In parallel to the fiber development, AMSilk is expanding the raw material production to support application development in several areas. AMSilk is pursuing a broad range of products based on the Spidersilk platform, including implant coatings, films, nonwovens, silk beads and fibers. The fiber will be introduced in a special press conference on March 11 at AMSilk.