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3D printing with living materials

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Harvard University scientists did it: They developed a microbial ink for 3D printing materials with functional and programmable attributes. The results of this incredible work have just been published in the journal Nature Communications and according to what the team, led by Neel Joshi, this technology could be used for several applications, including the isolation of Bisphenol A (BPA), a toxic chemical. present in the environment. An ink derived from microbial agents free of polymers or additives could open the way to new possibilities for the production of materials in situations where conventional solutions may not be available.

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Scientists used the genetically modified bacterium Escherichia coli to produce nanofibers, which can be concentrated and printed into three-dimensional structures. The authors then combined the ink with other genetically modified microbes designed to perform specific tasks.

The researchers found that the resulting material allowed them to produce feature-rich devices. Thanks to this approach, scientists have designed, for example, a system capable of sequestering BPA from the environment. These results, the experts conclude, demonstrate the potential of an innovative technology to print functional materials for biotechnology and biomedical use that could also be used to build structures in space.


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