Background: Though there are many patents on silk, patents on sea silk are rare. Sea silk is
one of the most coveted materials in the world, and the technology to make sea silk is at an extremely
high risk of extinction. Unlike spider dragline silk and silkworm silk, this natural silk has been forgotten
in the academic commune for millennia, though it has many fascinating properties: high strength,
remarkable adhesion, extreme lightweight, and others.
Methods: Here we report that mussel-derived silk fibers can be fabricated by electrospinning. Instead
of extracting proteins from byssus, we directly use the protein solution from alive blue mussels, which
are intensely commercially used. The protein solution and the polyvinyl alcohol solution are mixed together
to produce mussel-based silk fibers.
Results: The mussel-based silk fibers have many special properties like high mechanical strength, remarkable
super-contraction and good wetting properties.
Conclusion: The electrospinning mussel-based silk fibers have the potential for use as a replacement
for the rarest sea silk and as a new bio-inspired material with multi-functions.