Print is alive: on a 3D printer has created a colorful mask with microbes

a team of researchers from mit and Harvard University have implemented live microorganisms in objects, printed on 3D-printer. This technology will help create ‘smart’ packaging, indicating the bacterial contamination.

Note that a 3D printer was used the most common, available to anyone. However, scientists reworked the composition of the “ink” for him.

the Basis for three-dimensional printing products, the developers have called the hybrid living materials (hybrid living materials) because, in addition to some of the usual ingredients it contains live microorganisms.

To create targets experts used two types of resins: one was permanent, the other temporary. The main part of the mask is generated from the first substance, which ensures the integrity and stability of the structure. Some parts are produced using a temporary resin. It is typically used for protruding parts of the product and when it will perform its function, dissolves.

But in the course of this research she discovered a curious and important properties of those parts of structures that were made of temporary resin has become a sort of scavengers and retained the capacity to carry out chemical signals that allow to control the behavior of living microorganisms.

the Latest (modified bacteria Escherichia coli) was applied by spraying along with the last layer consisting of hydrogel.

several hours Later, the organisms begin to glow various colors in parts of the printed object, which was made with the help of the temporary resin.

As explained by experts, this colorful “show” is possible thanks to specially selected chemicals. They activate certain genetic reactions inside the bacteria and cause them to fluoresce (glow different colors).

In the course of work, researchers have learned quite accurately “program” a glow of objects, mENEA chemicals, microorganisms and specifying the desired pattern.

to show the technology in action, experts have created miniature drives and large face masks. They began to glow for a time after printing.

According to scientists, in the future this technology will be useful for creating biomedical devices, “smart” packages which give bacterial contamination, and other surfaces that somehow respond to changes in environmental conditions.

However, a new platform (which, incidentally, allows you to use from 3 to 7 pitches) you can think of and more exotic applications. So, in a press release from MIT are invited to create objects with biological surfaces, which will not only respond to changes in light and temperature. So, masks of the future will be able, for example, to produce for each specific user is necessary vitamins, antibodies or antibiotics (depending on the genetic profile or status of a person).

Scientific article on the results of the study published in Advanced Functional Materials.

By the way, before “News.Science” ( wrote about a 3D printer working with faux wood and multifuel 4D-printer. We wrote about the complex glass objects that can now be obtained by using three-dimensional printing.

Text: To.Science