MAY 22, 2016 5:01 AM PDT

Silk-Coated Foods Stay Fresher, Longer

WRITTEN BY: Xuan Pham

Apart from providing luxury textiles, silk is an emerging biomaterial that's being incorporated into cutting-edge science and medicine. Specifically, researchers are interested in the protein fibroin that's extracted from silk. This protein provides the rigidity and strength that make silk so desirable. Fibroin has been previously exploited to increase the stability of some bioactive materials, like vaccines and antibiotics. Most recently, engineers at Tufts University showed that encapsulating blood in silk fibroin can stabilize the samples for months at high temperatures.

Inspired by these results, Tufts engineers are applying fibroin coating to foods in the hopes of slowing down decomposition. Similar to their results with blood samples, they say coating easily perishable foods like strawberries with fibroin made the fruit last longer. Fruits that ripen after harvest, like bananas, also showed similarly promising results. The team says this technology is completely biocompatible, meaning it's safe to eat; however the verdict is still out on whether silk-coated strawberries are as tasty as the non-coated version.
About the Author
  • I am a human geneticist, passionate about telling stories to make science more engaging and approachable. Find more of my writing at the Hopkins BioMedical Odyssey blog and at TheGeneTwist.com.
You May Also Like
NOV 12, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Can a Chemical Be Both Nurturing and Destructive?
NOV 12, 2020
Can a Chemical Be Both Nurturing and Destructive?
On August 4, a megascale explosion almost leveled half of Beirut, the capital city of Lebanon. At the center of the negl ...
DEC 15, 2020
Chemistry & Physics
Over-the-air Charging - How Close Are We to Realize Tesla's Vision?
DEC 15, 2020
Over-the-air Charging - How Close Are We to Realize Tesla's Vision?
When inventor and visionary Nikola Tesla erected his Wardenclyffe Tower, a 186-feet tall and 68-feet wide monstrous towe ...
DEC 28, 2020
Immunology
What Happens When Your Immune System Works Against You?!
DEC 28, 2020
What Happens When Your Immune System Works Against You?!
Our immune system is our army against any molecule that wants to invade our bodies like viruses, bacteria, and cancer. I ...
FEB 24, 2021
Plants & Animals
Texas Freeze Caused Historic Sea Turtle Stranding Event
FEB 24, 2021
Texas Freeze Caused Historic Sea Turtle Stranding Event
In addition to the millions of humans who suffered through Texas' historic freeze last week, local wildlife also exp ...
MAY 29, 2021
Space & Astronomy
First Matter in the Universe Flowed Like Tap Water
MAY 29, 2021
First Matter in the Universe Flowed Like Tap Water
In two separate studies, researchers led by those at the University of Copenhagen and Queen Mary University of London fo ...
JUN 04, 2021
Plants & Animals
What Elephant Trunks Teach Science about Suction
JUN 04, 2021
What Elephant Trunks Teach Science about Suction
How an elephant picks up a tortilla chip could inspire next-generation suction technology.
Loading Comments...