Bioink from Osaka University has a silkworm silk additive to create a durable, competent material for 3D‑printing.

Benefits

  • Reduced waste
  • Biocompatible
  • Durable
  • Versatile

Applications

  • Medical implants
  • Composite materials
  • Manufacturing

UN Sustainable Development Goals Addressed

  • Goal 3: Good Health & Wellbeing

Bioutilization

  • Silkworm silk

The Challenge

Many people need surgical implants throughout their lifetime for a variety of medical reasons. Each time a foreign material is implanted into the human body, it risks incompatibility and rejection. Bioinks have been developed to be biocompatible, pliable materials, but when printed, are often subject to deformation due to their lack of structural integrity, resulting in unnecessary waste.

Innovation Details

The bioink contains nanofibers derived from silkworm silk. To obtain the nanofibers and make them into a usable material, the sericin is removed from the silk (this protein has been known to cause inflammation in patients) and the remaining material is ground into the nanofibers. The nanofibers can then be sterilized for use in medical procedures. These nanofibers ensure that the bioink retains its 3D positioning after printing and the cells are not damaged in the process.

Biomimicry Story

Silkworm silk is made of stretchable fibers approximately 5,000 feet long. Having a single, long fiber enables the material to more effectively distribute mechanical stress than several shorter, individual ones.