Australian researchers for the first time created artificially produced honey bee silk using genetically modified bacteria.
Australian entomologist Tara D. Sutherland is a CSIRO scientist, along with being the head of its Biomaterials team at CSIRO Entomology. She is also an expert in biomaterials, insect toxicology, genetics, and bioreme diation.
She says, "The silks would be good for tough, lightweight textiles, and high-strength applications like advanced aviation and marine composites".
Production of human-made insect silk is important, because of which its production is being attempted globally by various scientist groups.
She reports that the research involves honey bee silk because E. coli can't make long stranded silks like spiders or silk worms make, however, can produce the shorter protein strands, made by honey bees.
Sutherland says the transgenic E. coli are fed a special nutrient mix to cause them to grow and reproduce.
Sutherland states within the article: "Most people are unaware that bees and ants produce silk but they do and its molecular structure is very different to that of the large protein, sheet structure of moth and spider silk".