Transforming natural silk nonwovens into robust bioadhesives for in vivo tissue amendment

Chunhong Yang, Songmin Shang, Dahua Shou, Luoxiao Ran, Guangqian Lan, Enling Hu

    Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

    13 Citations (Scopus)


    Textile manufacturing of silk generates unwindable raw silk fibers, which are treated as silk wastes for downcycling applications, thus unexpectedly demoting the luxury status of silk. As a primary trial seeking to reshape the destiny of silk wastes, the present study is focused on transforming natural silk nonwovens, as a typical model of artificial silk nonwovens, into bioadhesives for tissue repair. Herein, a technique is demonstrated for the preparation of a transparent and stretchable adhesive from a silkworm cocoon sheet (SCS), a typical natural silk nonwoven. This technique differs from the traditional method of completely dissolving silk fibers to obtain silk fibroin. Specifically, the technique entailed pretreatment of the SCS with a CaCl2-ethanol-H2O ternary solution to obtain a modified cocoon sheet (MCS), followed by surface modification with a CaCl2-formic acid (Ca-FA) solution to obtain MCS@Ca with controllable adhesion, which was achieved by adjusting the Ca2+ content in Ca-FA. The highly stretchable MCS@Ca firmly adhered to various substrates for loads as high as 54 kPa, and its performance in repairing an injured liver in vivo was superior to that of a commercial product, Sorbalgon®. Additionally, MCS@Ca effectively sealed a freshly punctured porcine heart and stomach ex vivo, thereby demonstrating its potential as a sealant. To our knowledge, this is the first trial study for on upcycling disqualified silk fibers using a convenient top-down approach to prepare robust bioadhesives for tissue repair, wherein MCS@Ca may serve to bridge the gap between advanced biomaterials and disqualified silk wastes.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number127996
    JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
    Publication statusPublished - 10 Sept 2021


    • Bioadhesives
    • Silk fibroin
    • Silk wastes
    • Textile nonwovens
    • Tissue repair
    • Upcycling

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
    • General Environmental Science
    • Strategy and Management
    • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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