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BioMed Research International
Volume 2016 (2016), Article ID 8175701, 19 pages
Review Article

Silkworm Sericin: Properties and Biomedical Applications

1Department of Morphological Sciences, State University of Maringá, Av. Colombo, 5790, 87020-900 Maringá, PR, Brazil
2Center of Biological Sciences and Health, State University of Western Paraná, Rua Universitária, 2069, 85819-110 Cascavel, PR, Brazil

Received 27 June 2016; Revised 5 September 2016; Accepted 12 October 2016

Academic Editor: Joshua R. Mauney

Copyright © 2016 Regina Inês Kunz et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


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.