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Riled Up is a journal of science, the environment, exploration, new technology, and related commentary.  Contributors include scientists, explorers, engineers, and others who provide perspectives and context not typically offered in general news circulation.  For interested readers, additional resources are included.

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New Uses for Anceint Fibers
Hugh Bollinger

New Uses for Anceint Fibers


Silkworm cocoons (credit: Wikipedia)


From tiny worms a wondrous natural fiber is produced, silk.

Once considered a luxury fabric, the  cloth gave the name for the ancient Silk Road allowing a 4000 mile trading route from China across Asia to the Mediterranean and onward to Europe. How silk was actually produced remailed a closely guarded secret that the Chinese controlled along with the production process.



                           Silk Road map (credit:

Eventually, it was learned the fiber was obtained by cultivating the larvae of certain moths. The silk threads produced by worms were spun from their cocoons. Silk now serves as the basis for myriad new products with important medical uses. Novel biotechnological applications are being created but they still depend on the tiny worms to produce the super-thin fiber as their starting material. WHB

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