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Taiwan researchers develop silk protein extraction technique

2012/12/26 22:22:42

Taipei, Dec. 26 (CNA) Researchers at the Council of Agriculture's Miaoli District Agricultural Improvement Station said they have developed a technique for extracting protein from silk fibers for possible use in cosmetics and the field of biomedicine.

Wu Teng-chen, a researcher at the station, said silk fibers are composed mainly of protein and its base amino acid.

The inner layer of a silk fiber is made of fibroin, a natural protein, while its outer layer is sericin, a gelatinous protein that allows both layers to stick together, Wu said.

Sericin can preserve and maintain moisture, is anti-oxidant, and can prevent the penetration of ultraviolet rays, Wu said.

Fibroin is also UV absorbing and anti-bacterial, he said.

Both proteins extracted from silk fibers can be used to make cosmetics, health products, synthetic fibers, and biomedical materials, according to researchers.

(By Yang Su-min and Ann Chen)