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Living materials’ 3D-printed using bio ink

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Geneva: Scientists have printed three- dimensional (3D) 'living materials' using bacteria-loaded inks.

The new printing material called "Flink", which stands for "functional living ink", has been developed by scientists at ETH Zurich in Switzerland.

They developed a bacteria-containing ink that makes it possible to print mini biochemical factories with certain properties, depending on which species of bacteria the scientists put in the ink.

The scientists, who published the technique in the journal Science Advances, used the bacteria Pseudomonas putida and Acetobacter xylinum.

The former can break down the toxic chemical phenol, which is produced on a grand scale in the chemical industry, while the latter secretes high-purity nanocellulose.

This bacterial cellulose relieves pain, retains moisture and is stable, opening up potential applications in the treatment of burns.

The printing platform offers numerous potential combinations, according to researchers.

In a single pass, the scientists can use up to four different inks containing different species of bacteria at different concentrations in order to produce objects exhibiting several properties.

The ink is composed of a biocompatible hydrogel that provides structure.

The hydrogel itself is composed of hyaluronic acid, long-chain sugar molecules, and pyrogenic silica.

The culture medium for the bacteria is mixed into the ink so that the bacteria have all the prerequisites for life.

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