Institute of Materials Research and Design (IMRE) in Singapore has developed a way to replace the traditional dyeing process necessary to produce colored silk. Merely changing diet silkworm larvae makes them capable of producing different colors silk, wherein the color is directly integrated into the fiber.
The process developed by researchers, involves feeding the worms mulberry, which is treated fluorescent dye in the last four days, the larvae stage of development. Once the silk-worms ingest paint, they get the color of the paint, which dominated in their food. Silkworms then weave its cocoon of silk with the resulting color that blends with the color of the paint ingested by them.
The introduction of the paint itself in silk even before it suites allows you to make the process of adding color to the silk more friendly to the environment. The process of dyeing silk, currently in use, requires large amounts of water, chemicals, and is very labor intensive and time-consuming work. Enriching and developing the process produce the desired color, the need to paint the silk traditional method can be eliminated.
The researchers believe that this method can be applied to large-scale farms and is very effective and not expensive. Adding color to the diet of silkworms does not change the very fabric of silk, so as soon as the cocoons are suites, they can be collected and processed by conventional procedures.
Integration of paint in the diet of silkworms for easy creation of colored silk also opens the door to many other possibilities. Silk fibers characterized by their strength and durability, used for many years as a thread for suturing open wounds. The researchers are now considering the possibility of adding other compounds in food of silkworms to produce silk with antibacterial, delaying blood clotting and anti-inflammatory properties.
This new study will be useful not only for the environment, eliminating the traditional process of dyeing silk, but could lead to such possible breakthroughs in the field of surgery such as medication and treatment of wounds.
Original: Physorg Translation: M. Potter