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3D-Printed 'Living Material' Could Clean Up Contaminated Water

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The living material is 3D-printed as a grid-like structure.

The researchers genetically engineered the cyanobacteria in their material to continually produce a decontaminating enzyme called laccas, which can be used to neutralize organic pollutants.

Credit: UC San Diego Today

Scientists at the University of California, San Diego created an "engineered living material" for clearing water of contaminants.

The material combines the seaweed-based polymer alginate with cyanobacteria; the genetically engineered cyanobacteria generate the enzyme laccase to convert organic pollutants into harmless molecules, then self-destruct when exposed to the molecule theophylline.

The researchers three-dimensionally (3D)-printed the material in a grid-like structure with a high surface area to volume ratio so the cyanobacteria could access nutrients, gases, and light while also improving decontamination.

The researchers conducted a proof-of-concept experiment showing their living material could decontaminate the dye-based pollutant indigo carmine.

From UC San Diego Today
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Abstracts Copyright © 2023 SmithBucklin, Washington, D.C., USA


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