Journal Edition sofw journal 12-2019


Properties and application of functional vegan silk compared to hydrolysed silk from cocoon of silkworms


Silk has historically been associated with a high status or opulence. Even today silk plays a big role in the fashion and beauty industry. Silk is due to its conditioning and nourishing effect an excellent choice for skin and hair care products.

In general, silk is a protein, which is spun into fibres by e.g. silkworms, spiders, flies, scorpions and mites [1].The term silk was more exactly defined by Catherine Craig (scientist and expert for silks): “Silks are fibrous proteins containing highly repetitive sequences of amino acids, stored as liquid and transferred into fibers when sheared at secretion [2].” Silk produced by silkworms and spiders are the most investigated silk types.

Silk from the cocoon of silkworms is one of the most frequently used proteins in cosmetic products [3]. A high demand of silk for the beauty industry has become a real challenge for nature. For the production of one kilogram raw silk 6600 silkworms and approx. 200 kg mulberry tree leaves are necessary [4-5].

Another promising source for silk proteins is spider silk. Spider silk proteins are known for their qualities to add smoothness to the skin and leaving a silky feeling. But the production of spider silk is limited. Due to their cannibalistic and territorial behavior, spiders are very difficult to farm [6].To deliver a non-animal derived silk, the research was driven to nature inspired by the superior properties of spiders’ silk. For the production of innovative vegan silk proteins, Givaudan Active Beauty has developed the Advanced Silk Technology. Silk proteins are produced in a biotechnological process using fermentation.

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