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


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 Sep 2021


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

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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