A New Type of 3D Printer Ink Can Grow Itself

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Researchers Anna M. Duraj-Thatte and Avinash Manjula-Basavanna have discovered a new type of self-composing 3D printer ink made from Escherichia coli cells.

It is believed that in the near future, this printer ink will contribute to the development of renewable building materials and also ink that is growing itself.

According to the paper, researchers have created a so-called “microbial ink” that is “entirely from genetically engineered microbial cells, programmed to perform a bottom-up, hierarchical self-assembly of protein monomers into nanofibers, and further into nanofiber networks that comprise extrudable hydrogels.”

After E. coli was developed to produce live nanofibers, additional ingredients were mixed to make the ink usable in a custom 3D printer.

With the addition of more materials such as fibres, microbes and others, they were able to 3D-print living materials. Some of its capabilities include the fact that it could be used to remove nearby BPA and regulate its growth. It could also produce more ink. The researchers believe that could also be used to create buildings in space.

For more information read the original story in Arstechnica.

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