Monday, May 16, 2011

Dyed in the Worm

This really is 'news of the weird' but I find it so intriguing and I want to share it. I read an article in the New York Times about researchers in Singapore who fed chemical dyes to silkworms in order to yield a fluorescent silk, thus eliminating the dye process that creates polluted wastewater. The pink silkworm above was reportedly fed a diet of mulberries and fluorescent dye. The coloring process doesn't modify the worms' genes--it just gives them a chemical cocktail that makes them product colorful silk. This could have medical uses as well. According to New Scientist this method could also be used to dope silks with other materials, like antibacterial properties so they could be used a wound dressings. Amazing!

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