Congrats to Avinash Manjula-Basavanna and Anna Duraj-Thatte – co-first authors on a new paper in Nature Communications! The paper describes their efforts to engineer curli-fiber-producing bacteria to form a shear-thinning hydrogel that can be printed into self-standing shapes by extrusion-based 3D printing. In contrast to other examples of ¬†microbial bio-inks, this one is produced entirely by the bacteria, with no exogenous polymers added. They also used clever protein engineering to ensure that the bio-ink exhibited shear-thinning properties, enabling it to be extruded and also support its own weight, even when stacked into multiple layers. We collaborated with researchers in You Shrike Zhang’s lab at Harvard Medical School, who helped us with the 3D-printing. We hope this work lays a foundation for sustainable building applications and other applications in the near future.

 

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