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Creating Living Materials Using Bacteria and 3D Printing

Creating Living Materials Using Bacteria and 3D Printing

Written by David

December 22, 2018

In a paper entitled “ Programmable and printable Bacillus subtilis biofilms as engineered living materials ,” a team of researchers discusses how they used 3D printing to produce custom nanoscale biomaterials from the natural secretion of amyloid fibers from the bacteria Bacillus subtilis . The bacteria generate biofilms by secreting amyloid fibers via a tightly controlled cluster of genes called the tapA-sipW-tasA operon. TapA nucleates the extracellular assembly of TasA proteins to create the amyloid nanofibers that give the biofilm its structural integrity. The researchers were able to genetically modify the TasA protein and introduce functional chemical groups onto the TasA fibers excreted by the bacteria. This means that the bacterial films could be designed to act as functional living materials. The researchers were able to engineer the bacteria to secrete fibers containing enzymatic functional groups into harmless products. They also combined the biofilms produced with multiple bacterial strains, […]

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