Coloured silk done cheap

The Silkworm (Bombyx mori) is the caterpillar of a moth whose cocoon is used to make silk; it is not a worm at all. The silkworm, when fully grown, reaches a length of about 5 to 7 centimetres, and it’s an amazing worker. In only a few days, a single silkworm spins a cocoon from which can be removed a silk thread up to 600 metres in length. But it still takes about 25,000 cocoons to make half a kilogram of raw silk.

A special diet is all it takes to make a silkworms produce fluorescent silk of a particular hue. After feasting on a mixture of mulberries and fluorescent dye, the worm pictured above produced threads of bright pink silk.

According to researchers the process is simple and cheap enough to be translated to an industrial scale. Producing such intrinsically coloured silks would provide a more environmentally friendly approach for the silk industry, reducing its vast consumption of water and dyes. Read more here.

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