A “living ink” made entirely from bacterial cells can be used in a three-dimensional (3D) printer to create structures that discharge drugs or absorb toxins.
Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology genetically engineered the printable gel from proteins known as curli nanofibers, which are generated by E.coli cells; the nanofibers possess one of two oppositely charged modules attached to them, which crosslink.
Filtering the bacteria through a nylon membrane concentrates the crosslinked fibers, making the gel printable.
"The beauty of the work lies in the ability to genetically program the functional response of the printed living material," says André Studart at the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology in Zürich (ETH Zürich).
From New Scientist
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