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Novel Bioprocess for Spider Silk Fiber Production
Title: Innovation Manager
Phone: (281) 217-3471
Phone: (801) 953-1047
The majority of the US petrochemicals industry is dependent upon petroleum crude or natural gas as raw materials. The excessive dependence on foreign energy resources poses a threat to the energy security of the nation. Materials produced from fossil sources also have a negative impact on the environment. Nylon (Nylon 6 and Nylon 6,6) is a major product of the petrochemical industry. The total Nylon demand in 2010 was 6.5 MMTPA growing at 4-6% in the past four years. It is imperative to develop alternative options for textile materials, automotive and other industrial uses that are currently being catered by nylon. Such new fibers can be renewable, offer better properties and be able be produced domestically at industrial scales. Spider silk (dragline silk) offers an excellent opportunity for domestic manufacturing. A novel process to produce spider silk proteins using metabolically engineered E. coli and fiber spinning from aqueous solution is proposed. The primary objective of the proposed innovation is to demonstrate techno-economic feasibility of producing spider silk fibers.
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