Nanoparticles applied to reconstruction of one cell. (Credit: University of La Rioja)

A new nanomaterial from the silk produced by the Tetranychus lintearius mite has the ability to penetrate human cells without damaging them and, therefore, has promising biomedical properties.

The interest of this new material — which is more resistant than steel, ultraflexible, nanosized, biodegradable, biocompatible, and has an excellent ability to penetrate human cells without damaging them — lies in its natural character and its size (a thousand times smaller than human hair), which facilitates cell penetration.

These characteristics are ideal for use in pharmacology and biomedicine since the material is biocompatible with organic tissues (stimulates cell proliferation without producing toxicity) and, in principle, biodegradable due to its protein structure (it does not produce residues).

The resistance of the silk produced by Tetranychus lintearius is twice that of spider silk, a standard material used for this type of research, and stronger than steel.

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