‘Living Material’ Printed Using 3D Technology May Be Used to Purify Water – 3DPrinting.com

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Water pollution is a major environmental issue that affects ecosystems, human health, and the planet as a whole. Traditional methods of water purification often involve the use of synthetic materials that can be harmful to the environment. However, researchers at the University of California San Diego have recently introduced a groundbreaking innovation in water pollution remediation that has the potential to make water purification more eco-friendly.

The innovation, called an “engineered living material,” is a 3D printed structure made from a seaweed-based polymer combined with genetically engineered bacteria. This living material has the ability to transform various organic pollutants into harmless substances, thanks to its genetically modified bacteria. These bacteria are capable of producing enzymes that can break down pollutants and convert them into non-toxic substances.

What makes this living material even more fascinating is its ability to self-destruct. The genetically modified bacteria are engineered to self-destruct in the presence of theophylline, a molecule commonly found in tea and chocolate. This ensures their safe removal from the water after they have completed their task of decontamination.

The design of this living material also plays a crucial role in its functionality. The structure is grid-like, which optimizes the bacteria’s proximity to the surface of the material. This enhances their access to nutrients, gases, and light, ultimately increasing the material’s decontamination efficiency. The increased surface area of the material also contributes to its overall effectiveness in removing pollutants from water.

To demonstrate the effectiveness of their innovation, the researchers successfully used this living material to decontaminate indigo carmine, a dye pollutant commonly used in the textile industry. This proof of concept showcases the potential of the engineered living material to combat water pollution in various industries.

Notably, the researchers have also developed a method for the bacteria to self-destruct without the need for external chemical intervention. This is a crucial step for ensuring the environmental safety of this technology. By eliminating the need for additional chemicals, the engineered living material offers a more sustainable and eco-friendly solution to water pollution.

This research opens up exciting possibilities for the development of environmentally responsive materials. By combining the fields of materials science and biology, scientists can create innovative materials that can autonomously respond to environmental cues. This interdisciplinary collaboration has the potential to revolutionize the way we approach pollution remediation and pave the way towards a cleaner, greener planet.

If you’re interested in learning more about this groundbreaking research, you can read the full paper titled “Phenotypically Complex Living Materials Containing Engineered Cyanobacteria” at the link provided. We also invite you to join the conversation on our social media platforms – Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn – and share your thoughts on this innovation. Don’t forget to sign up for our weekly additive manufacturing newsletter to stay updated on the latest stories in the field. Together, we can work towards a cleaner and more sustainable future.

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