So, there is nothing you’d love more than traipsing around town in your brand new coat made entirely of spider silk. However, getting spider silk is a costly and sometimes difficult process. Spiders tend to like their silk, after all. What do you do if you want the touch, the feel of cotton silk but you don’t have the patience or pocketbook for it? You turn to hagfish slime, of course! Wait what?
Hagfish slime is, well, slime that the oft-neglected hagfish leaks off of its putrid, stinking body! Sounds great to wear right? The fish uses it as a defense mechanism against would-be predators. Usually the words “defense mechanism” and “awesome fashion” don’t exactly go together, but this time the trend might be bucked. You see, this filament may be lethal to marine life but it is fine for human consumption. Moreover, its mechanical properties rival and surpass those of spider’s silk. Plus, hagfish can’t poison you. You can start to see the potential now.
Atsuko Negishi, a researcher at theÂ University of Guelph in Canada, has discovered the usefulness of hagfish slime. He says it has the potential to be isolated, purified spun, and woven into high-performance biomaterials. Not bad right? Of course, there are no hagfish processing plants just yet so file this in the “concept design” file(for now.) Until then, let’s get the gang together and go hagfish hunting! Who is bringing the hound dog?