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 11th at AMSilk.
Spider silk has attracted man’s interest for thousands of years, mainly due to its toughness and elasticity. The silk is biocompatible and can be used in formulations for specialized coatings, films, nonwovens and in pharmaceuticals. Spider silk has evolved over millions of years resulting in a combination of properties that far exceed any man-made material. AMSilk has developed a proprietary process for producing spider silk on an industrial scale. Tailor-made materials using the AMSilk®-Technology enable new and superior products with previously unachievable features, spanning multiple industries and applications, including medical devices, pharmaceutical applications and technical fibers.
AMSilk was founded in 2008 and is located at the IZB in Planegg near Munich. AMSilk’s investors are MIG Funds and AT Newtec, Munich. Projects are partially funded through grants from the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research and the Bavarian Ministry of Economic Affairs, Infrastructure, Transport and Technology with project management provided by the PTJ and VDI.
AMSilk is a registered trademark in the European Union and in the USA of AMSilk GmbH, Germany. Biosteel and Spidersilk are registered trademarks in the European Union and trademark applications in the USA of AMSilk GmbH, Germany.
Contact for Europe and Asia/Pacific
Axel H. Leimer / Managing Director
Am Klopferspitz 19 im IZB
82152 Planegg/Martinsried / Germany
Phone: +49 (0)89 38156- 4430
Source: AMSilk GmbH, press release, 2013-03-11.