Ariadne 1.0: A Novel Method and Prototype for Artificially Spinning Spider Silk
Keywords:spider silk, biological textiles, mechanical properties, 3D printer, bioprinter, printing, artificial, spinning, silk, ariadne, prototype, spider
Musculoskeletal conditions affect more than half of the U.S. population over 18 years old, accounting for more than 50% of all disabling health conditions in adults . The push for innovative surgical technologies has sparked a search for new biomaterials analogous to, or better than, native human musculoskeletal tissue. Spider silk is five times the tensile strength of steel by weight, as elastic as rubber on a weight-to-weight basis, antibacterial, conductive, and hypoallergenic . Applications of this unique biomaterial include artificial tissues such as tendons, ligaments, skin grafts, muscles, and neurons. The 3D Organic Polymer Silk team (3D-OPS) has designed a cost-effective, novel system, Ariadne 1.0, to manufacture 3D printed spider silk as an alternative to biomaterials currently used in medical applications. The pre-printing process of Ariadne 1.0 utilizes native spider silk or purified spidroin proteins in the production of a stable solution for use in the 3D printing of biological structures. Modeled after the chemical-physical environment of the Nephila clavipes’ major ampullate gland, Ariadne 1.0’s printing system can easily modify the biophysical properties of its silk product by altering parameters such as the printing solution’s protein-type, ion concentration, or weight to volume ratio and the printing system’s needle size and print speed. This versatility supports a broad spectrum of surgical procedures and enables the potential for improvements in the medical field, particularly surrounding musculoskeletal injuries. The 3D-OPS team designed Ariadne 1.0 to investigate the viability of printing artificial tendons, ligaments, and muscle fibers with spider silk.
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