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Indian scientists unearth Assam's Muga silk's wound-healing powers

Tue, Dec 23, 2014, 02:38 PM
Kolkata, Dec 23: Moving past its image as a popular textile, Indian scientists have tapped into Assam's durable Muga silk to craft sutures, used for closing wounds, that have the potential for fast and efficient healing.

Muga, popularly known as golden silk due to its glossy texture, is found in select parts of Assam and is a product of the silkworm (Antheraea assamensis), unique to the northeast state. The fibre has the highest tensile strength (ability to withstand stress) among all natural silks and is known for its durability.

Scientists in Assam modified the silk fibre with polypropylene - a versatile substance that is commercially used in making surgical sutures - in addition to applications in packaging, textiles, and housewares, among others.

"We grafted polypropylene on Muga (made of silk fibroin protein) by plasma processing (a form of physics) and successfully produced sutures suitable for swift wound-healing. It is the best of all the sutures produced," Joyanti Chutia, emeritus scientist and former director of the Institute of Advanced Study in Science and Technology (IASST), at Guwahati, told IANS on phone.
Agency: IANS

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