Silk Offers an Alternative to Microplastics
Microplastics, tiny particles of plastic that are now found worldwide in the air, water, and soil, are increasingly recognized as a serious pollution threat, and have been found in the bloodstream of animals and people around the world.
Some of these microplastics are intentionally added to a variety of products, including agricultural chemicals, paints, cosmetics, and detergents — amounting to an estimated 50,000 tons a year in the European Union alone, according to the European Chemicals Agency. The EU has already declared that these added, non-biodegradable microplastics must be eliminated by 2025, so the search is on for suitable replacements, which do not currently exist.
Professors Benedetto Marelli and Muchun Liu present their ground-breaking work on the development of a system based on silk that could provide an inexpensive and easily manufactured substitute.
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