Colourful image of a collagen triple helix.

Structural protein research is bringing together Australian and overseas scientists.

Industrial biotechnology and biomaterials

The Industrial biotechnology and biomaterials stream includes research projects in protein biomaterials and lipid metabolising enzymes from insects.

  • 3 April 2007 | Updated 14 October 2011

Protein biomaterials

Proteins are versatile materials made from renewable sources with useful characteristics including:

  • strength
  • elasticity
  • durability.

Insects are a rich source of proteins including silk and elastic proteins. Many also naturally secrete adhesives to attach their eggs to leaves and other nesting places.

Protein biomaterial research involves investigating structural proteins produced by Australia's unique native insect fauna. We are using molecular biology to discover the genes for these proteins and studying their structure and basic functions. This research aims to improve appreciation of the value of insects as sources of new biochemicals.

This research aims to demonstrate the value of insects as sources of new biochemicals.

We are also investigating the origin and evolution of these materials among various insect Orders.

This area of research also contains CSIRO Entomology's projects within the Crop Biofactories Initiative, a joint investment between the Grains Research and Development Corporation and three CSIRO Divisions:

  • CSIRO Entomology
  • CSIRO Plant Industry
  • CSIRO Molecular & Health Technologies.

Crop biofactories research aims to transform the Australian grain sector by helping it to diversify, leading to the production of higher value industrial crops.

Insect lipid metabolism

The metabolism of lipids (fat) is an essential and complex process for advanced organisms. 

This area of research is investigating insect lipid metabolism and the diversity of enzymes, which have broad and important roles in insects including:

  • flight
  • pheromone production
  • lipid digestion and storage
  • membrane repair
  • immune responses.

Learn more about the research at CSIRO Entomology.