Vegan spider silk may be the new alternative to single use plastic

Yvonne O'Halloran

Researchers at the University of Cambridge have developed a new plant-based material that scientists say could replace many single use plastics in consumer products.

The sustainable film replicates the strength and high-performance of spider silk, the strongest natually-occurring fiber known, whilst also being compostable.

“Because all proteins are made of polypeptide chains, under the right conditions we can cause plant proteins to self-assemble just like spider silk,” said Professor Tuomas Knowles.

The new Supramolecular Engineered Protein will be commercialised by Xampla, The University of Cambridge spin-out company developing plant protein material for commercial application.

Later this year, Xampla will launch their full product range, including single-use materials to replace the plastics used in laundry detergent capsules and dishwasher tablets.

The company is also testing how the plant-based film could be used in food packaging, such as takeaway food boxes and sandwich containers as well as edible coatings on oral medications.

“Other researchers have been working directly with silk materials as a plastic replacement, but they’re still an animal product.” Said Dr Marc Rodrigues Garcia, head of research and development at Xampla.

“In a way we’ve come up with ‘vegan spider silk’ — we’ve created the same material without the spider”

He added: “It’s exciting to be part of this journey. There is a huge, huge issue of plastic pollution in the world, and we are in the fortunate position to be able to do something about it.”

Article written by Martha Moody- United Kingdom

Do you wish to transition to a vegan lifestyle in a safe and supportive environment?

Join V-TRIBE today.

Keep Informed

Join our mailing list to receive the free monthly Living Vegan newsletter, as well as two professional Dietitian Resources.


Our Purpose

Co-founded by Accredited Professional Nutritionist and Dietitian Yvonne O’Halloran, aims to provide a safe, informative space for anyone wishing to transition to and thrive on a vegan lifestyle. Aside from the proven health benefits, a whole-food plant-based diet has massive positive impacts for the environment and all the creatures we share our planet with. Our goal is to bring you news and resources that will dispel the myths associated with veganism and make the change second nature.

For Health, For Earth, For Compassion

Join V-TRIBE today