This 3D-Printer Uses Ink Made From Microbes to Print Blobs That Are Alive - ScienceAlert
Dec 01, 2021 55 secs

In a new study, scientists have outlined a new type of 'living ink' or bioink made from programmed Escherichia coli bacterial cells, which can be 3D-printed to create hydrogels in different kinds of shapes that release different types of drugs or absorb toxins, depending on how they're engineered.

What makes this approach different from previous bioinks is how it uses genetic programming to control the mechanical properties of the ink itself – leading to better end results in the finished material and more practical uses for the ink (some existing bioinks don't operate properly at room temperature, for example).

The way it works is by bioengineering the bacterial cells to create living nanofibers.

coli cells were combined with other substances to create the fibers, using a chemical process inspired by fibrin – a protein that plays a key part in blood clots in mammals.

coli cells could be formed into a hydrogel that self-replicates when it comes into contact with a particular tissue – opening up a new and sustainable method of manufacture that could be used on the Moon and Mars as well as here on Earth.

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