3D printing with biodegradable polymer capable of combating water pollution

3D printing with biodegradable polymer capable of combating water pollution

This polymer is able, thanks to its molecular structure, to be biodegradable and home to photosynthetic batteries or cyanobacteria.

The study comes to us thanks to a group of scientists from the University of California, San Diego. Their proposal is promising: a material composed of bacteria with the ability to convert toxic waste into harmless compounds, made from alginate, a polymer made from brown or brown seaweed, and containing cyanobacteria inside.

The team used 3D printing to optimize the process, creating structures that optimize the bacteria's access to light and carbon dioxide for photosynthesis. To achieve this, they designed a pattern of grids and panels that could be reminiscent of modern art.

In addition to achieving a genetic modification in the bacteria so that they can produce laccase, an enzyme that acts as a molecular recycler, breaking down pollutants and rendering them harmless.

The tests yielded astonishing results: the bacteria were able to transform dyes used in the textile industry into clear water. On the other hand, the team was concerned about the safety of the modified bacteria and managed to integrate a "biological switch", allowing them to be eliminated at will with a theophylline-based compound, the same one found in tea.

This is a field of study that, although still in its early stages, is showing enormous potential for improving the damage to our planet. These living materials represent a perfect symbiosis between biology and material engineering.

On the other hand, they demonstrate that nature and technology can work together to restore the lost balance. Let's hope that we will witness the massive implementation of this novel material, as well as new inventions that minimize our footprint on the planet.

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12 de Diciembre, 2023