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Artificial silk production technology with potential applications for a range of markets.

Our Silks Technology is a suite of recombinant proteins, and manufacturing techniques enabling the creation and use of silks proteins in a range of potential applications.

Silks are fibrous protein secretions which are produced by a range of insects and exhibit exceptional strength and toughness. Our silk protein technology describes a collection of naturally occurring silk proteins, their isolation, and recombinant production to enable the retention of native structures and traits, and the associated methodologies.


Our Silks Technology was developed to enable the production of bioinspired advanced materials.

Silks Technology addresses a number of problems associated with the artificial production of silk proteins, including reproduction of the proteins native state and its associated functionality. Additional advantages are derived from the unique properties of each silk protein.

The Silks Technology has been utilised in active research areas including healthcare, and the exploration of catalysis.

The ability to scale production of the Silks Technology to commercial levels has been demonstrated. There are opportunities to further develop the Silks Technology for potential exploration in a range of markets.

Development of the Silks Technology has reached a point where it is possible to apply the technology platform across a broad range of applications and market segments. There are opportunities to commercialise the technology for specific applications or as a broader technology platforms.


Preliminary development of applications utilising the Silk protein technology has focused around:

  • disposable nitric oxide sensor for management of asthma
  • materials for heterogeneous catalysis
  • vaccine stabilisation Electrochemical oxygen reduction for fuel cells
  • electrochemical hydrogen production
  • antimicrobial material based on entrapment of silver nanoparticles.

Additional potential applications include:

  • a platform to design smart wound dressings including wound dressings that may deliver drugs or antimicrobial compounds, or systems to sense and report microbial infection load in wounds
  • biomedicine materials for use in tissue repair and regeneration including nerves, and cartilage, vascular and epithelial tissues.
  • topical and internal drug delivery systems
  • biosensensors for health monitoring and diagnostics
  • cosmetics and personal care
  • food safety sensors
  • materials to stabilise temperature-sensitive compounds or unstable bioactive compounds.

Intellectual property

The silks protein technology portfolio consists of the following collection of patents owned by CSIRO:

  • Sutherland TD, Campbell PM, Weisman S, Trueman HE Sriskantha A, Haritos VS. Silk proteins. WO/2007/038837. Expiration date 04/10/2026. Granted in Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Russian Federation, South Africa, United States of America, Hong Kong, under examination in other jurisdictions.
  • Sutherland TD, Weisman S, Sriskantha A, Haritos VS, Church J, Huson M. Silk protein dope. WO/2011/022771, expiration date 25/08/2030. Granted in United States of America, Singapore. Under examination in other jurisdictions.
  • Sutherland T, Haritos VS, Weisman S, Ramshaw JAM, Peng YY, Okada S, Walker AA. Collagen-like silk genes. WO/2013/071356. Expiration date 15/11/2032. Granted United States of America. Under examination in other jurisdictions.
  • Sutherland TD and Rapson T. Metalloprotein compositions. WO/2016/077877 Priority application filing date 20/11/2014. Full patent lodged 17/11/2015.

The team

Our silks group is primarily interested in using proteins as polymers for rational design. Naturally occurring structural proteins are 'information-rich' molecules. Based on the precedent set by nature, these structural proteins provide a rich landscape for the rational design of advanced functional materials.

Could this technology provide you with a competitive edge?

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