Check out our recent preprint entitled “Robust, Self-Regeneratable Living Materials“! This work, by Avinash Manjula-Basavanna and Anna Duraj-Thatte, describes the fabrication of macroscopic, stiff, semi-transparent materials directly from drying microbial biomass. The microbes in this paper are completely un-engineered, commonly available strains and the simple protocol involves drying on the bench top in a mold. The resulting materials are surprisingly stiff, considering their heterogenous composition and origin from mostly soft cellular components. The materials also dry in such a way that some of the original cells are preserved in a viable state after drying, and the material can be propagated breaking off a chunk of the original material, re-growing fresh microbial biomass, and drying again. This is a new and potentially valuable way to make bio-derived, biodegradable materials in a streamlined manner – with less waste and less down-stream processing than other microbial derived bioplastics.


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