Silk fibroin based technology for industrial biomanufacturing

Valentina Benfenati, Stefano Toffanin, Camilla Chieco, Anna Sagnella, Nicola Di Virgilio, Tamara Posati, Greta Varchi, Marco Natali, Giampiero Ruani, Michele Muccini, Federica Rossi, Roberto Zamboni

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

12 Scopus citations


Natural biomaterials are more and more used for the development of high technology solutions, setting the scene for a bio-based material economy that responds to the increasing demand of environmentally friendly products. Among natural biomaterials, silk fibre protein called silk fibroin (SF) produced by the Bombyx mori L. insect, recently found a broad range of applications in biomedical field. SF substrates display remarkable properties like controlled biodegradability, flexibility, mechanical resistance and optical transparency, solution processability. These properties combined with the water-based extraction and purification process make SF a promising material for sustainable manufacturing enabling to partially replace synthetic, plastic-based and non-biodegradable material use. The use of SF interfaces in biocompatible electronic or photonic devices for advanced biomedical applications has been recently highlighted. However, the use of a natural biomaterial is challenging due to the complex nature of the biological molecule, and it requires to tightly control biomaterial properties during all the manufacturing steps. In this work, we show the results obtained by in loco production of raw-material, defining the best condition for silkworm selection and growth. The assessment and standardization of extraction/purificationmethodology are reportedwith reference to the high purity and remarkable performance in terms of chemo-physical property and biocompatibility of the obtained SF products. Finally,we demonstrate the fabrication, characterization and validation of microfluidic and photonic components of a lab-on-a-chip device for biodiagnostic based on biomanufactured SF.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationFactories of the Future
Subtitle of host publicationThe Italian Flagship Initiative
PublisherSpringer International Publishing
Number of pages22
ISBN (Electronic)9783319943589
ISBN (Print)9783319943572
StatePublished - Feb 14 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Engineering(all)


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