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Chitosan fiber in the making — Photo: U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

At first glance, the thread looks like a run-of-the-mill material. But the glossy white, strong and elastic strand is anything but ordinary.

This antibacterial material can stop the flow of blood and dissolves naturally within the human body. It can be used to produce plasters, dressings, surgical stuffing, surgical textiles and clothing for patients who suffer from skin conditions, like neurodermatitis, the German news agency DPA reports.

But the most fascinating aspect is what it's made of: the shell of shrimp, crab and other crustaceans.

"It is brilliant to find such a wonderful use for waste material," says Rolf-Dieter Hund, a director at the Institute of Textile Machinery and High Performance Material Technology in Dresden, Germany.

Shell-based waste is a by-product of the food industry. It is pulverized and reaches the institute's research team in the form of a powder that is dissolved in water and filtered. Trapped air is freed from this concoction under vacuum pressure and then squeezed through small nozzles. The resulting yarn is washed, dried and covered in protective film.

The machine that produces the textile can produce a shell-shocking 30 to 40 meters of the textile per minute. So it's easy to produce implants, such as those for abdominal wall constructions, cartilage and bone defects, which require little thread.

There's a catch for this shrimp yarn though: The fiber is very expensive, meaning you'll need to shell out the big bucks.

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Geopolitics

Patronage Or Politics? What's Driving Qatar And Egypt Grand Rapprochement

For Cairo, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil,” with anger directed at Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, and others critical of Egypt after the Muslim Brotherhood ouster. But the vitriol is now gone, with the first ever visit by Egyptian President al-Sisi to Doha.

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi met with the Emir of Qatar in June 2022 in Cairo

Beesan Kassab, Daniel O'Connell, Ehsan Salah, Hazem Tharwat and Najih Dawoud

For the first time since coming to power in 2014, President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi traveled to Doha last month on an official visit, a capstone in a steadily building rapprochement between the two countries in the last year.

Not long ago, however, the photo-op capturing the two heads of state smiling at one another in Doha would have seemed impossible. In the wake of the Armed Forces’ ouster of the Muslim Brotherhood government in 2013, Qatar and Egypt traded barbs.

In the lexicon of the intelligence-controlled Egyptian press landscape, Qatar had been part of an “axis of evil” working to undermine Egypt’s stability. Al Jazeera, the main Qatari outlet, was banned from Egypt, but, from its social media accounts and television broadcast, it regularly published salacious and insulting details about the Egyptian administration.

But all of that vitriol is now gone.

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