Score another one for mad science! Researchers in Singapore have created silkworms that spin pre-dyed, fluorescent silk.
The scientists fed the silkworms a mulberry mixture that had fluorescent dye added to it. Because of this additive in the silkworm's diet, they were able to produce colorful silk. The dye is permanent in the threads.
"The new, more environmentally friendly method allows us to integrate colors into the very fabric of silk and does away with the need for manual dyeing," explained Dr Natalia Tansil, lead researcher on this project.
What a tangled web they weave...
While the implications for fashion and textiles are interesting, the impact on the environment and medicine may be even more mindblowing. The scientists say this could be a green alternative to the costly and environmentally harmful process of fabric dying. Dr Tansil also theorized that if dyed thread can be created with an addition to the silkworm's diet, then perhaps they could also create silk that has antibacterial properties that could be woven into medical dressings for wounds. The implications for this could be staggering!
Read more about this amazing discovery at Australian Geographic !