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Compositional Analysis of Spider Silk

Compositional Analysis of Spider Silk

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An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Nicky Mac Kenna. Originally submitted for Final year project- CS454 at Dublin City University, with lecturer Dr. Brian Kelleher in the category of Physical Sciences
An essay for the 2011 Undergraduate Awards Competition by Nicky Mac Kenna. Originally submitted for Final year project- CS454 at Dublin City University, with lecturer Dr. Brian Kelleher in the category of Physical Sciences

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Published by: Undergraduate Awards on Aug 29, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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10/27/2013

 
Compositional Analysis of Spider Silk 
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Abstract
The chemical composition of spider silk is currently under intensive investigation due to itsimpressive mechanical properties such as tensile strength and elasticity. The protein contentof the fibers has received a lot of attention, whereas other smaller components of the silk have not yet been studied as thoroughly. Lipids and low molecular weight compounds have been reported on the webs of some spiders, however little is known about them. Thefollowing report documents the chemical composition of spider webs, with additional focuson the lipids present, as well as reporting the findings of the silk analysis performedthroughout the study.2
 
Contents
Chapter 1. Introduction........................................................................................41.1Spider Silk..............................................................................41.2Silk Production.......................................................................51.3Composition of the Silk...........................................................61.3.1 Silk Proteins.............................................................61.3.2 Silk Lipids................................................................71.3.3 Lipid Function.........................................................9Chapter 2. Gas Chromatography-Mass Spectrometry Analysis of Silk..............112.1 Introduction...........................................................................112.2 Materials and Methods..........................................................142.3 Results and Discussion..........................................................17Chapter 3. Silk Analysis using Scanning Electron Microscopy...........................263.1Introduction............................................................................263.2 Materials and Methods..........................................................293.3 Results and Discussion..........................................................30Chapter 4. Silk Analysis using Infrared Spectroscopy........................................364.1Introduction............................................................................364.2 Materials and Methods..........................................................384.3 Results and Discussion..........................................................39Chapter 5. Conclusions and Further work...........................................................435.1 Conclusion.............................................................................435.2 Further work..........................................................................44References...........................................................................................................45Appendix.............................................................................................................483

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