Flow-assisted assembly of nanostructured protein microfibers
FLOW researchers Nitesh Mittal, Ayaka Kamada, Daniel Söderberg and Fredrik Lundell together with additional colleagues in a Swedish-German team of researchers has cleared up a key process for the artificial production of silk (pure protein filaments).
With the help of the intense X-rays from DESY's research light source PETRA III, the scientists could watch just how small protein pieces, called nanofibrils, lock together to form a fibre. The secret behind succesful filament preparation was to combine flow induced nanostructure with certain fibrils (curved, not stiff). The work will soon appear in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.