Forget acid wash jeans, tied-dye, silk…try the latest trend — Slime! Soon, high fashion models might be strutting, no, make that oozing down the runway wearing clothes made of hagfish slime!
If you were a microbiologist and/or not repulsed by a handful of hagfish slime dripping from your hands, you know that hagfish slime is fibrous or almost thread-like. If you look at hagfish slime under a powerful microscope (something we like to do here at WhaleTimes) you will see the slime is made of protein fibers or threads. Turns out the threads are similar to the protein in nails and bone! The hagfish thread is 100 times smaller than a human hair.
What this means is, after isolating the (microscopic) protein threads, scientists were able to spin them into fibers. According to the study, the hagfish slime threads have properties similar to those of regenerated silk fibers. Silk is also a protein thread.
The next goal is to find ways to use hagfish slime to make textiles. Though some of you might shout, “Where, oh where can I get some clothes made of hagfish slime?” Many folks will cry, “Why, oh why?” The where we can’t help you with, but the why is easy. Scientists continue to search for sustainable materials. That way we can stop relying on synthetics or petroleum-based products to make clothing and other products.
Will there be hagfish farms so we can all be fashionably slimed? Though a hagfish can produce buckets of the stuff in just a short time, the good news is…probably not. Scientists hope to recreate the protein in a way that allows them to produce or recreate the slime threads without needing to pester hagfish. Now for the name for the fashion line….Gross Wear or Slippery When Sewn or….
Join us tomorrow for an interview with Douglas Fudge, an awesome scientist who studies hagfish slime and we’ll discover the answer to the burning question….does he really wear a lab coat made of slime?
For more info: American Chemical Society (2012, November 28). Hagfish slime as a model for tomorrow’s natural fabrics. ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2012/11/121128112204.htm”>
If you’re a microbiology fan, read the original research paper: Atsuko Negishi, Clare L. Armstrong, Laurent Kreplak, Maikel C. Rheinstadter, Loong-Tak Lim, Todd E. Gillis, Douglas S. Fudge. The Production of Fibers and Films from Solubilized Hagfish Slime Thread Proteins. Biomacromolecules, 2012; 13 (11): 3475 DOI: 10.1021/bm3011837
Reference: Musgrave, Ruth A., “Save the Planet…Wear Hagfish slime?” Hagfish Day!, WhaleTimes, Inc. (www.whaletimes.org)
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