How Silk is produced from Silkworm?
The biological scientific name of the silkworm is Bombyx Mori (In Latin mulberry Silkmoth). Silk is produced by this insect. Do you know that silk is one of the world's first products to get the 'Made in China' tag? Silk has been cultivated in China since ancient times and has been trading worldwide since then.
Silk is a natural protein fiber produced by the larvae of certain specific insects like caterpillars of moths. It is mainly composed of fibroin. There are 4 natural silk varieties, namely Mulberry silk, Tasar silk, Muga silk, and Eri silk. Let's study about silkworm through this article, and how this worm makes silk.
How is silk produced from silkworm?
Do you know that the silkworm survives only for two or three days and the most unique thing is that at the same time, after every sexual contact, female silkworm insulates 300-400 eggs on the leaves of the mulberry tree? In a span of 10 days, each and every egg produces a small female insect called larvae also known as Caterpillar. Then in approximately 30 to 40 days, growth takes place, larvae become long, sloppy and magnified.
Now continuously for three days this insect spins his head around it and forms the solution of a single long thread which is known as Koya or cocoon or a cocoon is a protective case or shell that the silkworm spins around it. As soon as it comes in contact with the air, this thread solidifies and a silk thread which is about 1000 meters long is formed. Now, these larvae are converted into a pupa.
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In the pupa stage, the larval structures of the silkworm are broken down forming adult structures and the caterpillar gets transformed into a moth. The cocoon helps the worm to stay protected from the harsh and unfriendly weather conditions. Usually, the insects spin a cocoon around them at the start of winter and spend the entire season inside the cocoon without the need for food and water. This stage is often referred to as the sleeping stage of the silkworm.
Usually, in 12 to 15 days, Pupa becomes a silkworm (Imago) by transplantation, which, with the help of an alkaline secretion cut the Koya from one side and comes out. This makes the silk thread of Koya broken into small pieces. Therefore, to obtain silk, the Koya is put into the boiling water, so that the silkworm which is inside it, died there and segregates thread from it. In this way, Silk is prepared from Silkworm. And further, this silk is used in the manufacture of clothes, etc.
What is Sericulture?
Cultivation of Silkworm is known as sericulture. The mulberry silk moth or Bombyx Mori is used to produce silk by the commercial silk industry.
Important facts about Silk
- Silk was first discovered in China.
- India is the only country to produce all five known commercial varieties of silk (Mulberry, Tropical Tasar, Oak Tasar, Eri, and Coral). Most of the Mulberry silk variety is produced in the country.
- In 1943, the Central Silk Research Zone was established in Berhampore (Paschim Bengal).
- Most of the mulberry silk (Bombyx Mori) is produced in India.
- Silk thread is a protein fiber while cotton and jute yarn is cellulose.
From the above article, it is clear that silk thread is nothing but a protein fiber and how is it produced from Silkworm.