Piorkowski Dakota

Piorkowski Dakota




The antibacterial properties of spider silk


Antibacterial agents, such as penicillin, were first used to treat infection over 80 years ago and were derived from natural sources. Today, synthetic and modified natural antibacterial agents are commonplace across fields of medicine, dentistry, food preservation and water disinfection. However, their increased use in recent years has led to antibacterial resistance of numerous bacterial strains, including potentially life-threatening Staphylococcus and Streptococcus. Discovery and development of new kinds of antibacterial agents is pertinent in the fight for global human health, and the best source may be where these compounds were first discovered: in Nature. Most naturally occurring antibacterial compounds exhibit high molecular complexity that would be otherwise impossible to invent de novo in laboratory conditions. Materials with antibacterial properties from plant and animal systems, such as plant essential oils or arthropod secretions, present a good opportunity for identification of next-generation antibacterial agents. Spider silk is one such secretion that demonstrates high resilience to bacterial degradation in natural environments for weeks to months at a time. Yet very few studies have been conducted on this topic despite the widespread global presence of spiders. We are currently testing the antibacterial efficacy of silk from different spider taxa and environments to determine the source of these properties as well as their diversity. Our goal, ultimately, is the identification of one or multiple antibacterial compounds, unique to spider silk, can provide inspiration for the production of novel biofilms, coatings and antibiotic drugs.


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Updated: Nov-20-2020 02:10:19 (Taiwan, GMT+08:00).