Natural nano-material derived from spider mite silk: genomics of agricultural pest leads to novel biomaterial


Abstract: Nanomaterials are one of the fastest developing industry and technology sectors.
Their application ranges from medicine (drug carriers, cancer treatment), the food industry
(nanoparticles as biosensors, removal of toxic molecules from food, anti-microbial food
packaging), agriculture (antimicrobial agents, targeted carriers of “smart” pesticides and
fertilizers, nanocapsules for vaccine delivery), cosmetics (carriers of cosmetic products, sun
creams), to industrial applications such as the textile industry, nanocatalysis and engineering of new materials. Most of the currently used nanomaterials are inorganic nanomaterials such as iron (Fe) nanoparticles, aluminum (Al), copper (Cu), gold (Au), silver (Ag), silica (Si), zinc
oxide (ZnO), titanium dioxide (TiO2), and cerium oxide (Ce2O3), or chemically synthesized
nanomaterials such as carbon nanotubes or polystyrene. However, the utilization of these
synthetic nanomaterials raises significant health concerns. In this presentation, we describe
development of novel biological nano-material derived from spider mite silk (spider mites are
major pests in agriculture) using a combination of genomics, cell and molecular biology, and
biotechnology. Our aim is to develop environmentally safe nanomaterial (biocompatible,
biodegradable, non-toxic for humans and animals) that have potential in multiple sectors,
ranging from agriculture and biomedicine, to the food industry following current EU initiative to develop “green” economy.

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