An Idea a Day: Hagfish is the new black

image

Move over organic cotton. Clothes made from hagfish slime could one day be the height of sustainable fashion.

Synthetic fabrics such as nylon and polyester are made from petroleum. A green, natural alternative would be a protein-based cloth made from spider silk - or the thick slime made by the hagfish (Myxine glutinosa) to help it escape predators. The slime contains myriad protein threads 100 times thinner than a human hair.

Douglas Fudge at the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, and colleagues previously isolated some of these threads and found them to be10 times the strength of nylon. Now they have gone a step further, using forceps to draw a slender cord of protein fibres from a dried solution of hagfish slime (Biomacromoleculesdoi.org/jwh).

Read the rest of this article on New Scientist. Illustrated here by Ed J. Brown.