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Evidence of Antibacterial Potential of Spider Silk (Araneae: Araneidae) as Borrowed Property

Evidence of Antibacterial Potential of Spider Silk (Araneae: Araneidae) as Borrowed Property

Hafiz Muhammad Tahir*, Iram Liaqat*, Junaid Nadeem, Hammad Aamir and Shaukat Ali

Department of Zoology, Faculty of Chemistry and Life Sciences, GC University, Lahore, Pakistan.

*Correspondence | Iram Liaqat and Hafiz Muhammad Tahir, Department of Zoology, Faculty of Chemistry and Life Science, Government College University, Lahore, Pakistan; Email:,


The notion that spider silk possesses antibacterial potential dates back to the time of ancient Greece when it was frequently used as wound dressings. In recent years, several studies have investigated the alleged antibacterial potential of spider silk but the results have largely been inconclusive. The studies either failed to consider the inhibitory effects of the processing chemicals or did not investigate whether the inhibitory potential is an intrinsic property of silk or is due to the aggregate gland secretion coating its surface, hence a borrowed property. Our study used direction application and disk diffusion method to investigate the antibacterial potential of Neoscona mukherji and N. theisi egg and web silk. For disk diffusion method, silk was first degummed to form degummed silk solution’ (DgS), then the degummed silk was dissolved to form the dissolved silk solution (DSS). The DgS and DSS solutions were tested against selected common pathogenic bacteria (Esherichia coli, Salmonella typhimurium SJW1102, and Staphylococcus aureus ). According to the study, the DgS and DSS solutions of egg-sac silk exhibited no inhibitory potential by either of the two methods. However, application of web silk using the DSS treated discs showed no growth inhibition compared to the DgS treated discs, where increased inhibition zones were observed against all three bacteria. This study suggested that spider silk does possess antibacterial potential, however, this is not an intrinsic property and is type specific as well as species specific. Use of spider silk for coating of medical devices such as stents and catheters can decrease transmission of pathogenic bacteria forming biofilms as well as aid in wound healing.

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Journal of Innovative Sciences


Vol.9, Iss.1, Pages 1-191


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