EDUCATION

USU goats’ milk produces material as strong as spider webs

Apr 24, 2018, 10:20 PM | Updated: Apr 25, 2018, 1:17 am

WELLSVILLE, Utah – There is something very different about the goats at Utah State University’s south farm in Wellsville, Utah. For starters, the nearly two dozen animals are called ‘spider goats’ and it is not because of their looks or personality. They earned that title because their milk produces a special protein that can be turned into a material just as strong as a spider’s web.

“I get asked if they shoot out spider’s webs,” USU Agriculture Science Student Savannah Callahan laughs as she milks a goat. “I know a lot of people do think there is a difference, but really it’s just there is spider protein in their milk.

Callahan spends a couple days a week with the animals, and said just by the looks of it, you wouldn’t know they produce such valuable material.

“They look like your average goats, but they are far from it,” she said.

Through a process called somatic cell nuclear transfer, these goats inherited a gene that gives their milk a certain protein that scientists make into a variety of strong materials.

“We purify the milk’s protein and we spin fibers or make gels or coatings or whatever else we want from that,” USU Biology professor Randy Lewis said.

“We can make things like strong adhesives, stronger than gorilla glue, and materials that can replace carbon fiber,” he said. “You can actually wrap this around 360 degrees, and it won’t break.”

He said they eventually hope to use the spider silk material to form durable artificial ligaments for people who have injured their knees or shoulders.

“We see this as another step forward,” Lewis said.

Researchers at USU said they are in the beginning stages, but they are making progress and have found a way to create the material on a larger scale. They said it would be a while before the material enters commercial markets.

KSL 5 TV Live

Top Stories

Education

The University of Arizona is waiving tuition and fees for undergraduate students enrolled in one of...
Harmeet Kaur, CNN

University of Arizona will waive college tuition for Native students in the state

The University of Arizona announced this week that it will soon waive tuition and fees for undergraduate students enrolled in one of the state's 22 federally recognized tribes.
2 days ago
Baker-Berry Library on the campus of Dartmouth College in Hanover, New Hampshire, U.S., on Friday, ...
Amir Vera and Melissa Alonso, CNN

Dartmouth College eliminates undergraduate student loans, replaces them with scholarship grants

Dartmouth College announced Tuesday it was eliminating student loans for undergraduates and replacing them with "expanded scholarship grants," the university said in a news release.
10 days ago
FILE: The U.S. Supreme Court is shown on April 25, 2022, in Washington, D.C. (Photo by Kevin Dietsc...
MARK SHERMAN, Associated Press

High court rules religious schools can get Maine tuition aid

The Supreme Court has ruled that religious schools can’t be excluded from a Maine program that offers tuition aid for private education.
10 days ago
A Davis County School District getting ready for it's new lawn....
Jed Boal, KSL TV

Davis School District showcases their water saving efforts

Many Utahns are cutting their outdoor watering amid the drought. The Davis School District aims to cut their outdoor water use nearly in half.
16 days ago
Salt Lake Community College...
Madison Swenson, KSL TV

SLCC found to have violated Title IX, Section 504 following pregnancy discrimination investigation

The Salt Lake Community College was found Tuesday to have violated Title IX and Section 504 after the school allegedly encouraged a student to drop a course because she was pregnant, and did not provide her with academic adjustments or necessary services during her pregnancy.
16 days ago
Active shooter training is underway at Roy High School....
Dan Rascon, KSL TV

‘We are preparing for the worst’: Utah officers train for an active shooter in a school

Officers from five police agencies across the Wasatch Front are at Roy High School this week for some critical active shooter training.
18 days ago

Sponsored Articles

hand holding 3d rendering mobile connect with security camera for security solutions...
Les Olson

Wondering what security solutions are right for you? Find out more about how to protect your surroundings

Physical security helps everyone. Keep your employees, clients, and customers safe with security solutions that protect your workplace.
Many rattan pendant lights, hay hang from the ceiling.Traditional and simple lighting....
Lighting Design

The Best Ways to Style Rattan Pendant Lighting in Your Home

Rattan pendant lights create a rustic and breezy feel, and are an easy way to incorporate this hot trend into your home decor.
Earth day 2022...
1-800-GOT-JUNK?

How Are You Celebrating Earth Day 2022? | 4 Simple Ways to Celebrate Earth Day and Protect the Environment

Earth Day is a great time to reflect on how we can be more environmentally conscious. Here are some tips for celebrating Earth Day.
Get Money Online...

More Ways to Get Money Online Right Now in Your Spare Time

Here are 4 easy ways that you can get more money online if you have some free time and want to make a little extra on the side.
Lighting trends 2022...

Lighting Trends 2022 | 5 Beautiful Home Lighting Trends You Can Expect to See this Year and Beyond

This is where you can see the latest lighting trends for 2022 straight from the Lightovation Show at the Dallas World Trade Center.
What Can't You Throw Away in the Trash...

What Can’t You Throw Away in the Trash? | 5 Things You Shouldn’t Throw in to Your Trash Can

What can't you throw away in the trash? Believe it or not, there are actually many items that shouldn't be thrown straight into the trash.
USU goats’ milk produces material as strong as spider webs