Dehradun: It’s an age of light-speed technology and people want things to be available at a faster rate. But it’s not only humans who are seemingly moving at a fast and furious pace but animals too. Silkworms, spinning smooth silk, have joined the swift league.

A recent breakthrough in research has accelerated the pace of silkworms which now are able to produce silk in 12 hours. Earlier, the worms used to spin silk in 36 hours.

In an advancement that could enable the large-scale production of faster, smoother and softer silk, researchers have developed a spray that increases the rate of spinning silk by silkworms to three times.

This was all made possible through the efforts of scientists at Forest Research Institute (FRI) located in Dehradun. The feat has been achieved by the scientists of chemistry department after four years of rigorous research.

According to Dr Rashmi working on the project, the spray increases the work efficiency of silkworms thus enhancing their rate of spinning.

“The spray has been named ‘Samridhi’. It is sprayed on the mulberry leaves and at times on the silkworms. The medicine enables the silkworm to spin the silk three times faster than the normal time,” she said.

The study also revealed that the new silk developed in lesser time was better in quality and smoother to touch when compared to normal silk.

“Having experimented with the spray, the companies would now be invited for its production commercially. But before this, we would be filling a patent for the developed spray technique. The technique is expected to benefit not only the government institutes preparing the spray silk but also the silk weavers,” Dr Rashmi concluded.

Silk facts

# Reduction in spinning time would reduce man power expense.
# More silk would be developed in lesser time.
# Samridhi spray is prepared from weeds. 20 grams of medicine is prepared from one kg of weed.
# Post production, the 10 ml of spray is available at affordable prices of Rs 15-20.
# A single bottle of ‘Samridhi’ can be sprayed on 900 silk worms.

JPN/Bureau