A Synthetic Thread

The gossamer of human life

Sways gently in a passing breeze.

A whisper on a callous knife –

The gossamer of human life.

You take away the sting of strife,

With artificial growth to please.

The gossamer of human life

Sways gently in a passing breeze.

Nature’s bandages (Photo Credit: TGoeller, via Wikimedia Commons).

This is a Triolet, inspired by recent research into the development of antibiotic synthetic spider silk.

Spider silk is highly biocompatible (meaning that it is unlikely to cause an allergic reaction), and possesses natural antiseptic and antifungal properties that can help to keep wounds clean and free of infection. For this reason, it has long been used for medicinal purposes; for example, the Ancient Greeks placed spider webs over their wounds to stem the bleeding.

A group of researchers have now demonstrated that spider silk can be artificially synthesised by E. coli bacteria in the lab. They have also shown that this synthetic silk can be further enhanced with additional molecules such as antibiotics or fluorescent dyes – attached via a process known as ‘click-chemistry.’ This process means that artificially produced spider silk can be altered to increase its potential for usage in wound healing and tissue regeneration.

 

An audio version of this poem can be heard here.

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