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Article: Innovation in fabrics between silk and wood

L'innovazione nei tessuti tra seta e legno

Innovation in fabrics between silk and wood

The environmental problem is of increasing importance, especially in terms of the resources necessary for its resolution. The issue takes on various facets, such as the scarcity of resources, the production of waste and therefore its disposal, the environmental pollution that arises from most human activities and in particular from production activities. Consequently , the products and materials that we find ourselves using on a daily basis also come into play.



But human beings, as we know, are able to adapt and cope with any situation . As has happened in the past in other critical situations, humanity as a whole finds itself at a historical crossroads whose direction will determine the survival not only of our species but also of many other life forms that populate planet Earth . It is therefore essential to adopt ethical and responsible behavior towards what we use. And this may be why in recent months we have heard more and more about innovative solutions aimed at averting a very imminent catastrophe: inventions, ideas and companies capable of improving environmental conditions , reversing a very dangerous course.



In Helsinki for example, a group of scientists claimed to have found a way to combine silk proteins found in spider webs with cellulose fibers from wood to create a biodegradable alternative to plastic . The researchers, from Aalto University based in Helsinki, in collaboration with the Finnish research center VTT, have confirmed that the new material will be resistant and flexible , therefore suitable for the most varied uses. Many fields, including fashion and textiles , will benefit from this simple but ingenious invention .



Initial studies reveal that the new bio-based compound could be used as a possible replacement for plastic in textiles , as well as in packaging and medical applications. The silk used by the researchers is not, in fact, taken from spider webs, but produced using synthetic DNA , specially created in the laboratory.



Professor Markus Linder of Aalto University , who led the research, said: “Because we know the structure of DNA, we can copy it and use it to produce silk protein molecules that are chemically similar to those found in threads. of cobwebs." Linded said that materials derived from nature – such as silk and cellulose – have the advantage of being biodegradable , so they do not harm nature the way microplastics do. Simply put, the secret is just to replicate what already happens in nature.



The project highlights the new and versatile possibilities of protein engineering . In the future, according to what the project members report, it will be possible to produce similar composites based on other materials present in nature and achieve a different set of characteristics for infinite applications.




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In short, in a not too distant tomorrow, we could wear clothes that are increasingly natural and respectful of the environment in which we live but above all biodegradable . A choice that will allow a drastic but positive and above all fundamental change if we consider, as already reported in the CasaGIN Magazine, that fashion is the second most polluting industrial sector. Our choices can change the world.

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