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Dual-Performance Optimized Silks from Ultra-Low Dose Polymer Dots Feeding and Its Absorption, Distribution and Excretion in the Silkworms

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Fluorescent polymer dots (Pdots) have the advantages of excellent optical properties, great biocompatibility and high photostability. Herein, we feed ultra-low doses Pdots to silkworms for the first time and aim to prepare dual-performance modified silks. After Pdots feeding, the fluorescence signal of cocoons and degummed silks increases significantly, which is more stable and more uniform than that of post-treatment silks. Moreover, Pdots hinder the conformation transformation of silk fibroin and improve the mechanical property of twisted silk strand. The highest elongation at break point is 20.75 ± 0.03% and breaking strength is 271.7 ± 3.8 MPa. With excellent fluorescence and mechanical properties, the optimized silks are successfully applied as a scaffold for cell culture and imaging. Furthermore, we investigate the metabolism of Pdots in the silkworms for understanding the behaviours of Pdots in the process of silks synthesis and secretion.

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This study was supported by Grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (81974273, 81671738, 81301261 and 21374059), the National Key R&D Program of China (2016YFC1303100), and the Shanghai Pujiang Project (13PJ1405000).

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Correspondence to Liqin Xiong.

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Li, J., Li, Y., Lu, S. et al. Dual-Performance Optimized Silks from Ultra-Low Dose Polymer Dots Feeding and Its Absorption, Distribution and Excretion in the Silkworms. Adv. Fiber Mater. 4, 845–858 (2022).

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