Skip to main page content
Access keys NCBI Homepage MyNCBI Homepage Main Content Main Navigation
. 2016;2016:8175701.
doi: 10.1155/2016/8175701. Epub 2016 Nov 14.

Silkworm Sericin: Properties and Biomedical Applications

Free PMC article

Silkworm Sericin: Properties and Biomedical Applications

Regina Inês Kunz et al. Biomed Res Int. .
Free PMC article


Silk sericin is a natural polymer produced by silkworm, Bombyx mori, which surrounds and keeps together two fibroin filaments in silk thread used in the cocoon. The recovery and reuse of sericin usually discarded by the textile industry not only minimizes environmental issues but also has a high scientific and commercial value. The physicochemical properties of the molecule are responsible for numerous applications in biomedicine and are influenced by the extraction method and silkworm lineage, which can lead to variations in molecular weight and amino acid concentration of sericin. The presence of highly hydrophobic amino acids and its antioxidant potential make it possible for sericin to be applied in the food and cosmetic industry. The moisturizing power allows indications as a therapeutic agent for wound healing, stimulating cell proliferation, protection against ultraviolet radiation, and formulating creams and shampoos. The antioxidant activity associated with low digestibility of sericin that expands the application in the medical field, such as antitumour, antimicrobial and anti-inflammatory agent, anticoagulant, acts in colon health, improving constipation and protects the body from obesity through improved plasma lipid profile. In addition, the properties of sericin allow its application as a culture medium and cryopreservation, in tissue engineering and for drug delivery, demonstrating its effective use, as an important biomaterial.

Conflict of interest statement

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


Figure 1
Figure 1
Photography of Bombyx mori silk gland (a), stained with light green 1%. Anterior (ASG), middle (MSG), and posterior silk gland (PSG). MSG and its areas: anterior (1), anterior-middle (2a), posterior-middle (2b), and posterior (3). Head (H). In (b), (c), and (d), photomicrographs of different regions anterior, middle, and posterior, respectively, stained with haematoxylin and eosin. Cytoplasm (Cy), nucleus (arrows), and lumen (Lu).

Similar articles

See all similar articles

Cited by 8 articles

See all "Cited by" articles


    1. Kundu S. C., Dash B. C., Dash R., Kaplan D. L. Natural protective glue protein, sericin bioengineered by silkworms: potential for biomedical and biotechnological applications. Progress in Polymer Science. 2008;33(10):998–1012. doi: 10.1016/j.progpolymsci.2008.08.002. - DOI
    1. Mondal M., Trivedy K., Kumar S. N. The silk proteins, sericin and fibroin in silkworm, Bombyx mori Linn.,—a review. Caspian Journal of Environmental Sciences. 2007;5(2):63–76.
    1. Padol A. R., Jayakumar K., Mohan K., Manochaya S. Natural biomaterial silk and silk proteins: applications in tissue repair. International Journal of Materials and Biomaterials Applications. 2012;2(4):19–24.
    1. Altman G. H., Diaz F., Jakuba C., et al. Silk-based biomaterials. Biomaterials. 2003;24(3):401–416. doi: 10.1016/s0142-9612(02)00353-8. - DOI - PubMed
    1. Nagaraju J., Goldsmith M. R. Silkworm genomics-progress and prospects. Current Science. 2002;83(4):415–425.

LinkOut - more resources