Welcome to the library. Would you rather read the book "50 Shades of Grey" or the article "The production of fibers and films from solubilized hagfish slime thread proteins?" Good choice! Here's your hagfish reading.
For defensive purposes, hagfish produce a slime full of protein threads. Draw it out into a thread, and you have the potential for an incredibly strong fabric that isn't made from petroleum like popular existing synthetics.
A team from the University of Guelph in Ontario, Canada, is looking to turn this hagfish squickiness into the latest fabric. The newest breakthrough is the ability to extract a cord of material from processed hagfish slime. This is the sort of awesome thing scientists (and we at Crave) get excited about.
My dream of vast hagfish ranches isn't likely to come true. The ultimate goal is to re-create the hagfish goodies using biomimetic methods such as modifying bacteria to create the protein threads.
I can't wait for the day when I'm all dressed up for a fancy event and someone comes up to me to say, "Oh, what a lovely dress!" I'll say, "Thank you, it's made from hagfish slime."
For a more visceral look at the stuff behind your future hagfish clothes, check out the video demonstrating a fiber pull from the gooky material. All that's missing is a pulsing techno soundtrack.
(Via New Scientist)