Maria Tom, One Hundred Percent, Three Days discussed on 60-Second Science
Themselves using the sun were fully recyclable. One hundred percent biodegradable sequestered carbon just by existing filtered. Toxins out of the air. And we're also alive. Dr maria tom at delft university and a post doc researcher in her lab. Dr recon by the sumatran have gotten one step closer to making that a reality. They've created a three d. Printed photosynthetic material made out of algae is dr urban tom. Yeah we weren't interested in in three d. printed living material that's made of microalgae for a couple example of Algae material already out there. But we were interested in making one that will be enough mechanically robust to be used in got in real applications because a lot of these material based on eyder gel which tend to be very fragile. You might not have heard of. Hydrogel is but you've certainly use them. What disposable baby diapers chia pudding toy water beads. All of these are hydrogel. That you might have around your house but hydrogel aren't very strong or solid so the team wanted to make something better. They already had a three d. printer that they had built in their lab to print materials with bacterial by oink. Oink is a solution that contains living cells. That you load into a three d. printer into la. We were also studying microalgae but for different purposes to we're interested in the physics of how it swims in how the moves the flow around itself when it swims. They had the idea that maybe they could put the two together. They created a bio ink out of living microalgae and printed it onto bacterial cellulose a fibrous material that can be produced by bacteria it grows as a rubbery film on top of the bacteria cultures but when its dried out. It's like a tough paper. The clever part of their method is that the algae bio ing won't solidify until it comes into contact with calcium chloride so they made calcium chloride petri dishes. They put the bacterial paper. On top. And then printed directly onto that that way. When the algae is printed calcium chloride will diffuse through the paper and cause it to solidify. We're actually surprisingly well when we tried to put the all g inside delivering material. Yeah almost immediately. I think the first trial it immediately worked so we got it was very promising and then the now we tried different condition different designs and then we test the mechanical properties of of this material. Bacterial paper stays on the print. Like a backing and provides a material with more strength than the hydrogel alone would have. It can handle twisting and crushing. The material can survive three days on. Its own and at least a month probably longer if fed with nutrients every couple of days it can be kept in light or dark and it can easily be dissolved and the algae can be removed and placed right back into the printer to make more material or alternatively. It's fully biodegradable. The printed material won't grow noticeably in volume over time but the number of cells increase and so does the amount of chlorophyll best of all. This process is relatively inexpensive. Here's dr allison meridian. And one at The cost effective. Because if you Deepening does that already available. In the market that can print living cells. They are in the problem in the price change of hundred thousands of novelist. But i just like less than two hundred fifty dollars is a do it yourself reversal. Anybody that actually sprinting. And in fact all the instructions for printing are available in their paper published in the journal advanced functional materials. A previous paper from the group has all the details of how to build the printer. So you really could do it at home. Ultimately the possibilities with this kind of material are many from creating synthetic leaves to producing oxygen for life in outer space to filtering contaminants out of air and water to photosynthetic textiles. But those applications are all still a little ways in the future. The teams proof of concept prints were relatively flat about ten to twenty layers high so their next big hurdle is getting height is one of the limitation with our current approach. Is that in order for the jail. Solidifies there needs to be some calcium that diffused all the way to the prince that limits the height that we can achieve but they are already well underway and taking their material to new heights and some of their prince have even been shipped to a few people's homes a kind of living material live test so some powered blinds or an apron that sequester carbon might be a reality sooner than you think. Thanks for listening. For scientific americans sixty seconds science.