A recently-discovered squid protein could be used to stop microplastic fibres leaking into the environment.
A review published in Frontiers in Chemistry, conducted by scientists at Penn State University in US, suggests material found in the ringed teeth of a squid’s arms can be processed into an abrasion-resistant coating that reduces microfibre erosion in washing machines.
The protein is also self-healing, so items of clothing can repair tiny abrasions and damage.
Materials made from this protein are eco-friendly and biodegradable, with sustainable and cost-effective large-scale production achieved using laboratory culture methods, rather than having to harvest it from living squids.
Lead Author Melik Demirel said: “Squid proteins can be used to produce next generation materials for an array of fields including energy and bio-medicine, as well as the security and defense sector.
“We reviewed the current knowledge on squid ring teeth-based materials, which are an excellent alternative to plastics because they are eco-friendly and environmentally sustainable.”