Researchers at the KTH Royal Institute of Technology in Sweden claim to have synthesized the strongest yet hybrid silk fibres, combining spider silk proteins with nanocellulose from wood.
Chemical engineers and chemists from Rice University and China’s Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics have developed a method of synthesising extremely pure levoglucosan (LGA), a rare and expensive sugar which has gone largely untested for commercial uses.
It could have significant implications for the way plants are bred or selected for improved or altered cellulose ultrastructural traits – which could impact industries ranging from cellulose nanocrystals to toiletries to structural building products.”
“This is the first time that synthetic accessory molecules have been engineered to change the specificity of an enzyme in order to achieve a desired end-product,” said Koide. “In this paper, we demonstrated their efficacy on sugars, but one can envision applications of this concept with enzymes acting on other types of molecules such as lipids and peptides – there are literally hundreds of enzymes currently used in industry and millions that are potentially useful.”