According to a report on the US Daily Science website on the 4th, an international research team used 3D printers and a novel bioprinting technology for the first time to print algae into a tough and elastic photosynthetic material. This material is expected to be widely used in energy, Medical and fashion fields. Related research was published in the journal “Advanced Functional Materials”.
In recent years, scientists have realized that the strongest materials are often those that mimic natural substances. Therefore, biological materials made by placing biological cells in a non-biological matrix are becoming more and more popular. In this study, an international team led by researchers from the University of Delft in the Netherlands used lifeless bacterial cellulose (an organic compound produced and excreted by bacteria, which has many unique mechanical properties, such as flexibility, strength and The ability to maintain shape) act as printing paper, use live microalgae as ink, and deposit live algae on bacterial cellulose through 3D printing.
The researchers explained that the combination of biological (microalgae) and non-biological (bacterial cellulose) components produces a unique material that has the photosynthetic properties of algae and the flexibility of bacterial cellulose, that is, its It is tough and flexible, and environmentally friendly, biodegradable, simple to produce and scalable. In addition, this material has plant characteristics, which means that it can use photosynthesis to “feed” itself in a few weeks, and it can also regenerate. These unique properties make it useful for making artificial leaves, photosynthetic skin, or photosynthetic biological clothing.
Artificial leaves are materials that imitate real leaves. They can use sunlight to convert water and carbon dioxide into oxygen and energy, and can produce sustainable energy in environments that are not conducive to plant growth, including outer space. Most of the current artificial leaves are produced by toxic chemical methods, while the artificial leaves manufactured by the new method are made of environmentally friendly materials. This material can also make photosynthetic skin for skin transplantation, and the oxygen produced will help wound repair.
Researchers said that in addition to being used in sustainable energy and medical fields, these materials are also expected to change the fashion industry. First of all, bio-clothes made of algae are sustainable, fully biodegradable, high-quality fabrics that will solve the environmental protection problems currently faced by the textile industry; in addition, they can also remove carbon dioxide through photosynthesis to purify the air; finally, they are not It needs to be cleaned as often as traditional clothing, which can greatly reduce the use of water.
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