3D Printed Bac­te­ria Pu­rify Wa­ter Of Tox­ins

Sci­en­tists in Switzer­land have de­vel­oped a new print­ing ma­te­rial that in­cludes liv­ing bac­te­ria. The ma­te­rial can be used to print small, bio­chem­i­cal pu­rifi­ca­tion plants.

Science Illustrated - - SCIENCE UPDATE -

TECH­NOL­OGY Ma­te­ri­als re­searchers from the ETH Zürich in­sti­tute of tech­nol­ogy have de­vel­oped a liv­ing 3D-print­ing me­dia known as Flink. The sci­en­tists mixed bac­te­ria and nu­tri­ents with hy­dro­gel – a type of jelly – which keeps ev­ery­thing to­gether.

Us­ing the ma­te­rial, they can print 3D struc­tures of any shape and equip the struc­ture with up to four dif­fer­ent bac­te­ria at a time and brand new char­ac­ter­is­tics.

In an ex­per­i­ment, the sci­en­tists demon­strated two dif­fer­ent ways of us­ing the ma­te­rial. They printed a small net with bac­te­ria which can break down phe­nol, a toxin in pes­ti­cides, which threat­ens streams and lakes. It is al­ready com­mon to make bac­te­ria break down phe­nol – and other chem­i­cal pol­lu­tion – but weak­nesses are in­volved: It is dif­fi­cult to keep track of where the bac­te­ria are in the wa­ter, and the bac­te­ria need en­ergy in the shape of nu­tri­ents which do not al­ways ex­ist where they are placed.

With the new print­ing ma­te­rial, a reusable net of bac­te­ria can be placed in the wa­ter, and the bac­te­ria even bring their own food.

The sci­en­tists also printed a cus­tomised patch us­ing a bac­terium, which pro­duces wound-heal­ing cel­lu­lose. In­stead of flat patches, which are in­con­ve­nient on el­bows and heads, the printer can use Flink to get the right fit.

3D printed rings light up, as they in­clude ac­tive bac­te­ria, which pro­duce cel­lu­lose. A 3D printed mould with bac­te­ria re­moves oil. The method can be used in con­nec­tion with oil spills. 3D PRINTED BAC­TE­RIA OIL-RE­MOV­ING BACT ERIA

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