Save the Planet: Wear Hagfish Slime!

Save the Planet: Wear Hagfish Slime!

Forget acid wash jeans, tied-dye, silk…try the latest trend. Soon, high fashion models might be strutting…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, as it drips off your hands, you’ll discover the slime is fibrous or almost thread-like. Turns out the thread are a protein similar to the protein in nails and bone! The protein thread is 100 times smaller than a human hair.

When you look at hagfish slime under a powerful microscope (you know, something we all like to do) you’d know that hagfish slime is made of protein fibers or threads. The fiber is a protein component of the slime. (okay enough technical talk.) What this means is, after isolating the (microscopic) protein threads, scientists were able to spin them into fibers.

Silk is also a protein thread. According to the study, the hagfish slime threads have “properties similar to those of regenerated silk fibers….” (Negishi) The goal now is to find ways to use hagfish lime to make textiles.

Right before you say, “Where oh where can I get some clothes made of hagfish slime,” you might cry, “Why oh why?” Scientists continue to search for materials that are sustainable, rather than relying on synthetics or petroleum-based products to make things such as clothing.

To be fashionably slimed in the latest styles, will there be hagfish farms? 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.

Nor for the name….Gross Wear or Slipper When Sewn or….

For more info: American Chemical Society (2012, November 28). Hagfish slime as a model for tomorrow’s natural fabrics. ScienceDaily.
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

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