Living materials fabricated via gradient mineralization of light-inducible biofilms

Journal: Nature Chemical Biology

Published: 2020-12-21

DOI: 10.1038/s41589-020-00697-z

Affiliations: 4

Authors: 9

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Research Highlight

Producing functionally graded composites by mimicking nature

© STEVE GSCHMEISSNER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty Images

© STEVE GSCHMEISSNER/SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY/Getty Images

By mimicking composite biomaterials, researchers have succeeded in varying the degree of mineralization as a function of location across a biofilm.

Many living organisms produce composite materials made of organic and inorganic components. The properties of some natural composites (including chiton teeth, fish scales and crayfish mandibles) vary with location. While much progress has been made in developing bio-inspired composite materials, it has been challenging to produce such functionally graded composites.

Now, a team led by ShanghaiTech University researchers has combined the light-induced formation of a bacterial biofilm with biomimetic mineralization to realize precise spatial patterning. Specifically, they reduced the mineral density in steps across the material by variable light intensities during biofilm formation.

The resulting composite was 15 times stiffer after mineralization and could be used to repair damage in a spatially controlled way.

The team says that these results open to the way to fabricating living composites that can respond dynamically and adapt to their environments.

Supported content

  1. Nature Chemical Biology 17, 351–359 (2021). doi: 10.1038/s41589-020-00697-z
Institutions Share
ShanghaiTech University, China 0.70
Nanjing National Laboratory of Microstructures (NNLM), NJU, China 0.22
Shenzhen Institutes of Advanced Technology (SIAT), CAS, China 0.07

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