Making use of a concept called click chemistry to synthesize antibiotic spider silk, Professor Neil Thomas of the School of Chemistry of the United Kingdom-based Nottingham University collaborated with life scientist Sara Goodacre and her team in the research.
Recombinant silk fibers functionalized with levofloxacin was able to retain its antibacterial activity by slow release for up to five days after functionalisation. According to Professor Thomas, the biocompatible fibers can find applications in tissue engineering and biomedicine. The structure serves as scaffolds for cell growth and provides antimicrobial properties due to the presence of antibacterial agents by slow release mechanism.
A chance meeting of chemists and scientists from SpiderLab resulted in antibiotic recombinant silk fibers, using the click reaction technique. The work involved the synthesis of silk protein in a bacterium, where an amino acid not found in protein was added. This amino acid has an azide group, which helps with the click reaction resulting in the functionalized artificial silk. The research was funded by the United Kingdom’s Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council and has appeared in a recent issue of the online journal Advanced Materials.