Spider Silk for Capturing Bioaerosols: Microbial Minutes
Spider silk-inspired fibers capture and kill bacteria in the air. How might they inform the development of air purification and filtration systems?
What's Hot in the Microbial Sciences?ASM presents Microbial Minutes, a video series of trending topics in the microbial sciences.
When you think of air filters, spider silk is probably not the first thing that comes to mind. Recent research could change that. Researchers developed artificial spider silk that catches and inactivates bacteria aerosols—which can pose a risk to human health—with near 100% efficiency. How exactly do these fibers work? Key take-aways and resources used in this Microbial Minutes are listed below.
- Bioaerosols can pose a risk to human health.
- Commercial air filters are useful for capturing bioaerosols, though have some limitations (e.g., high energy consumption, do not kill microbes and more).
- Scientists created an artificial spider silk photocatalyst that captures bacteria aerosols and, in contrast to commercial systems, inactivates them with an efficiency of 99.99%.
- The findings provide a foundation for developing new, efficient and effective air filters.
- Peng L., et al. Bioinspired artificial spider silk photocatalyst for the high-efficiency capture and inactivation of bacteria aerosols. Nature Communications, April 27, 2023.
- Alsved M., et al. Natural sources and experimental generation of bioaerosols: Challenges and perspectives. Aerosol Science and Technology, Nov. 8, 2019.
- Guo C., et al. 3D-printed spider-web structures for highly efficient water collection. Heliyon, July 19, 2022.
- Ibhadon A. O. and Fitzpatrick P. Heterogeneous Photocatalysis: Recent Advances and Applications. Catalysts, March 1, 2013.
- Lindsley, W.G., et al. Sampling and characterization of bioaerosols. NIOSH Manual of Analytical Methods (NMAM), 5th Edition, March 2017.
- Liu Y., et al. Water Harvesting of Bioinspired Microfibers with Rough Spindle-Knots from Microfluidics. Small, August 5, 2019.