A group of scholars from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology holds the credit for the new proposal. The replacement of microplastics with silk.
Here is the news: replace the very thin microplastics with silk and then use them in many useful sectors. A group of researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) has proposed this novelty. For example, the encapsulation of the active ingredients of some drugs and supplements with fibers discarded from the processing of silk, biocompatible for humans.
One of the biggest problems arising from the use of plastics are microplastics . They are microparticles that can be accidentally produced by the decomposition of large materials. Some examples are clothes with synthetic fibers, or used in toothpastes or to encapsulate active ingredients in medicines, vitamins and supplements. They are tiny filaments that are included in the food chain and will have to be expelled from the European market by 2025.
As for the encapsulation of drugs, it could come from working silk waste . Fibers not useful for textile use can be used for the production of very thin biocompatible films . They would perform the same function as plastic polymers. Scholars call it a low-cost technique. The estimate of microplastics in Europe added to products is 15% of all plastics scattered in the environment. The proposal from MIT is a valid input to make an important contribution to their entire eradication.
The new silk-based material could be a valuable aid for the removal of microplastics in agriculture, painting and cosmetics. From MIT they let you know:
They provide a slow release of the active ingredient for a targeted period of time and minimize negative effects on the surrounding environment. For example, vitamins are often administered in the form of microcapsules, enclosed in a pill or capsule, and pesticides and herbicides are also wrapped in a similar way. But the materials used today for these microencapsulations are plastics that persist in the environment for a long time. Until now, there was no practical and inexpensive substitute that biodegraded naturally.
Replace microplastics with biocompatible silk fibers (laregione.ch)