Graft copolymerization of methyl methacrylate (MMA) onto mulberry silk fibers has been investigated in a limited aqueous system employing titanium(III) chloride-K2S2O8 as the redox initiator under a photoactive condition with visible light. Polymerization in the presence of light at 32 ± 1°C has been found to be more pronounced than in the dark under identical conditions. The percentage of grafting, the percentage of total conversion, and the percentage of grafting efficiency have been studied by varying the reaction time, concentration of monomer, initiator concentration, solvent composition, and pH of the medium. A high percentage of grafting (∼ 93%), high grafting efficiency (∼ 97%), and the percentage of total conversion (∼ 25%) have been obtained with little homopolymer formation. Characterization of the grafted fibers has been investigated by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and scanning electron microscopy. Finally, the reaction mechanism has been discussed by considering hydrogen bonding. © 1999 John Wiley & Sons, Inc.