12/21/2012

Future Fibers May Be Spun From Slime

Credit: NOAA/CBNMS, Photographer: Linda Snook. Pacific hagfish (Eptatretus stoutii) in a hole at 150 meters depth.  Latitude 37 58 N., Longitude 123 27 W. California, Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary. 2004.
Credit: NOAA/CBNMS, Photographer: Linda Snook.
Pacific hagfish (Eptatretus stoutii) in a hole at 150 meters depth. Latitude 37 58 N., Longitude 123 27 W. California, Cordell Bank National Marine Sanctuary. 2004.

The hagfish or “slime eel” shoots out slime containing silk-like fibers of remarkable strength. Douglas Fudge, a biologist at the University of Guelph, says it could be a good substitute for today’s synthetic fibers—it’s 10 times stronger than nylon, for example—and bacteria can be trained to make it.

Segment Guests

Douglas Fudge

Douglas Fudge is a head researcher in the Comparative Biomaterials Lab and an associate professor of biology at the University of Guelph in Guelph, Ontario.

Meet the Producer

About Christopher Intagliata

Christopher Intagliata is Science Friday’s senior producer. He once served as a prop in an optical illusion and speaks passable Ira Flatowese.