Category Archives: Biomaterials

Living With Madagascar Silk

Caterpillars of the silk moth, Bombyx mori, are the most common species used for silk production.  Thousands of years of selection have created an insect that can efficiently produce silk. However, all caterpillars produce silk and some other species are used for … Continue reading

Posted in Biomaterials, by jjneal, Caterpillar Blogging, Environment | 1 Comment

Recycling With Insects

I recently posted about the ability of some beetles to grow and develop on polystyrene. A report from Pune, India adds wax moths to the list of plastic consuming insects. Humans produce much plastic waste that contains useful nutrients and energy … Continue reading

Posted in Biomaterials, by jjneal, Environment, Food | Leave a comment

Biking With Shellac

Shellac is made from the waxy secretions of the lac insect, Kerria lacca. Shellac was widely used as a finish and waterproofing agent for many purposes. The original bicycles had wood or metal handle bars with no additions.  Bicycle riders … Continue reading

Posted in Biomaterials, by jjneal | 1 Comment

Spinning Silk

Major ampullate silk is secreted by the major ampullate gland of spiders. In the best studied systems two silk proteins differing in amino acid sequence and structure are secreted by the gland. The ratio of the two proteins is thought … Continue reading

Posted in Biomaterials, by jjneal | 1 Comment

The Complexity of Silk

Strands of spider silk are not a simple uniform material and are far more complex than plastic fishing line. Plastic fishing line is a solid, uniform entity. A strand of spider silk is an organized structure built from small units. … Continue reading

Posted in Biomaterials, by jjneal | 1 Comment

Living With Spider Silk

Spiders produce a variety of silks that can be classified into 7 distinct types: Major Ampullate, Minor Ampullate, Pyriform, Aciniform, Flagelliform, Tubuliform and Viscous Aggregate. The silks are produced in separate glands for special purposes. Major Ampullate silk is used … Continue reading

Posted in Biomaterials, by jjneal, Environment | Leave a comment

Butterfly Wing Reflections

Cabbage White Butterflies will fly until late in autumn and may begin flight during late winter in Indiana.  This May, cabbage butterflies are active in spite of cool to cold temperatures.   To fly efficiently, butterflies need to warm their … Continue reading

Posted in behavior, Biomaterials, by jjneal | 1 Comment