Vegan ‘spider silk’ created by Cambridge scientists could replace single-use plastic

SourceThe Telegraph

A new material, dubbed “vegan spider silk”, has been created by researchers at the University of Cambridge and may be a long-term replacement for single-use plastic. Human reliance on plastic remains one of the biggest environmental concerns, with millions of tons of waste produced every year. Tiny fragments, called microplastics, have been found atop the Alps and Himalayas, as well as at the bottom of the Pacific Ocean’s Mariana Trench and in Antarctica.

As a result of this increasingly urgent problem there is now a major push to find ways to break down existing plastic and create packaging to replace the ubiquitous oil-based plastics. Cambridge researchers aiming to solve the second problem took inspiration from spider silk, one of nature’s strongest and most remarkable materials. They identified that despite the molecular bonds holding spider silk together being weak, they were robustly reinforced with a high density of other bonds. But animal-based proteins have their own difficulties and offer issues more...