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Recent Advances in Development of Functional Spider Silk-Based Hybrid Materials

Elena F. Krivoshapkina

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- In terms of spider silk fiber architecture, the lowest level of silk hierarchy is rooted in its primary protein structure and is defined by a sequence of amino acid residues responsible for the sequential folding mechanisms leading to its molecular structure.
- The toughness of hybrid spider silk fibers increases. Another possible straightforward approach for obtaining natural spider silk fibers-based hybrid materials without significant changes to the protein backbone is by dipcoating natural spider silk fibers in nanoparticle suspensions.
- Spider silk provides a good basis for the formation of hybrid functional materials with many uses— an option already being explored.
- It is clear that this field is only at its first stages of development based on the presented approaches for the synthesis of spider silkbased organic-inorganic hybrid materials.
- Large-scale industrial production of these materials is currently challenging due to some unavoidable difficulties related to natural spider silk fabrication.
- Available artificial fibers are still far from natural as the structure and properties of natural spider silk are difficult for accurate reproduction.
- Further understanding of spider silk structure at both the molecular and supramolecular levels, as well as its formation process is crucial for the development of more successful material modification and manipulation protocols.
- New evidence of hierarchical architecture within spider silk contributes to a better understanding of the possible integration of inorganic components within silk fibers to produce biopolymer hybrids with considerably improved functional properties.

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