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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