Apatite formation and bacterial growth on raw silk fabric heated in argon gas

Hiroki Chigama, Taishi Yokoi, Maiko Furuya, Kotone Yokota, Hiroyasu Kanetaka, Masakazu Kawashita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Raw silk has the potential to be a flexible, osteoconductive material because it forms bone-like apatite on its surface in acellular simulated body fluid with ion concentrations nearly 1.5 times greater than that of human plasma (1.5SBF). It has been reported that silk—which has many similarities to raw silk—develops antibacterial properties when heated in inert gas, which may be advantageous in preventing bacterial infection. Hence, raw silk heated in inert gas may be a flexible, osteoconductive material with antibacterial activity. Thus, we examined the effect of the heat treatment of raw silk fabric on its apatite-forming ability in 1.5SBF and on the growth of Escherichia coli. Raw silk fabric was heated in argon gas at several temperatures, to a maximum of 500 °C. The results of soaking tests in 1.5SBF indicate that the apatite-forming ability of raw silk decreases with increasing temperature. This may be because favourable structures for apatite formation, such as carboxyl groups, are thermally decomposed. The results of bacterial tests indicate that raw silk fabrics heated to 300 °C or 500 °C exhibit reduced bacterial growth compared to those that were not heated or were heated only to 100 °C. This might be because hydrophobic surfaces inhibit bacterial adhesion, or because the thermal decomposition of sericin—a component of raw silk—leads to a lack of available nutrients for the bacteria. Although this study did not demonstrate the expected material properties needed for clinical applications, this research contributes to a better understanding of silk biomaterials. [Figure not available: see fulltext.]

Original languageEnglish
Article number49
JournalJournal of Materials Science: Materials in Medicine
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Jun 1

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biophysics
  • Bioengineering
  • Biomaterials
  • Biomedical Engineering


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