In their study published Tuesday, researchers Simon Fruergaard, Marie Braad Lund, Andreas Schramm, Thomas Vosegaard, and Trine Bilde report having looked for AMA across seven types of spider silk, accounting for differences within the spider phylogeny. They tested for antimicrobial effects against Escherichia coli (better known as E. coli), Pseudomonas putida (sometimes associated with skin infections), and Bacillus subtilis (a benign form of bacteria that doesn’t actually harm humans or animals). Using direct contact assays (in which untreated silk is tested against antibiotic susceptibility) and disc diffusion assays (in which silk extracts are tested against the same), the team was able to conclude that all three types of bacteria were unthreatened by the silk.
“We were unable to detect the antimicrobial activity of social spider silk, and this made us curious about why other studies were able to detect antimicrobial activity in spider silk. We then started scrutinizing the papers reporting antimicrobial activity in every detail, and became aware of methodological shortcomings,” Tilde said to Gizmodo about the research. A more realistic application of “spider silk” on wounds would involve a spider-inspired synthetic silk developed in the UK a few years back. The synthetic material may someday be used to deliver drugs and close wounds with less risk of infection.
Spider silk is still incredibly resilient, though. “Spider silk is renowned for its extraordinary physical properties such as high tensile strength and flexibility,” the study reads. “Silk is used as an anchor for rapid escape, a snare for prey capture, to immobilize cannibalistic mates, to make egg cases for protection . . . and even in silk diving bells that facilitate underwater life.” Based on the silk’s wide range of uses and overall durability, it made sense to the researchers at first that it may also protect itself by way of killing off bacteria. Unfortunately, that just isn’t the case.
Yeet Cute: Spiders Catapult Themselves In High-Stakes Mating Ritual
This species of wee venomless spider uses a truly unique strategy to prevent marital disharmony. After mating, the males bounce. Literally.
Oh God Why? Researchers Find New Ways to Combine Spiders, VR
A research team has found a way to create sonic sensations both on and inside a person's mouth for more realistic VR. And we just threw up in our own mouths thinking about it.
Orb-Weaving Spiders Use Their Webs to Detect Sound
Because they don't possess eardrums, some spiders “outsource” their hearing to their webs.
Performance Analysis: Spider-Man Kills It on PS4 Pro
With the miss-to-hit ratio being what it is for superhero games, Insomniac had its work cut out for it when it agreed to take on the latest open-world interpretation of Spider-Man. Thankfully, the gamble paid off, and Sony has racked up another exclusive hit.