December 10, 2007
Spider Silk socks, super-strong and silky coming to you by 2010
Socks, an integral part of your dressing style, they can add shimmer to your outfit or simply make you feel warm and comfortable. Giving a boost to their texture, a wholesaling manufacturer in Nara Prefecture and a Japanese university professor are working in conjunction to produce a stronger, more elastic sock using a new type of silk thread made by including spider thread genes into silkworm eggs. This new type of thread is called “spider silk,” and is developed by Prof. Masao Nakagaki, an insect genetics researcher at Shinshu University in Nagano Prefecture. This new thread is expected to be twice as strong and elastic as conventional silk thread.
Prof. Masao Nakagaki says that the new thread can be used for various non-textile products, such as sutures for surgery and fishing line. Explaining the procedure the professor said that “to make the new thread, genes are extracted from spider thread and injected into silkworm eggs. Silkworms that are hatched from the eggs spin thread, about 10 percent of which is made up of spider thread material.” Before it goes into commercial production the professor wants to increase the ratio of spider thread material in the new thread up to 50 percent. The new material will be available in 2010.