MIT Creates Hybrid Materials with Living, Non-Living Components
March 24, 2014 9:02 PM
comment(s) - last by
It's E.coli mixed with nonliving elements that can emit light or conduct electricity
MIT researchers are combining living and non-living ingredients to create self-assembling or self-healing materials.
, the MIT team combined E.coli bacteria with gold nanoparticles in an effort to make hybrid materials that are functional but also contain living cells. The idea was to make cells communicate with one another so that they can change the composition of the material over time.
More specifically, the researchers wanted to replicate natural processes, like the way bone generates a material in response to environmental signals.
E.coli was chosen because of its biofilms, which have sticky amyloid proteins -- called curli fibres -- that glue the bacteria on to other proteins in the body. These adhesive qualities allow other cells to stick to the E.coli and become integrated.
A bacterial cell engineered to produce amyloid nanofibers that integrate gold nanoparticles or quantum dots (red and green spheres) [SOURCE: MIT]
An important part of this process is the extracellular CsgA protein, which is found in curli fibres and has the ability to self-assemble. When peptides are added, CsgA can be modified to collect and then self-assemble other materials. This allows engineers to control it with different "trigger" molecules.
The E.coli was made to produce CsgA, which contains peptides made up of the amino acid histidine whenever a certain molecule is present. Histidine particles would then cling to the added gold nanoparticles, and the gold forms a network because of the self-assembly characteristics of the amino acid particles.
This made the E.coli conductive, and any number of peptides could be used to manipulate the living cell in different ways.
Combining the living and non-living materials could create smart materials, like self-assembling/self-healing batteries, medical diagnostic sensors, and solar cells.
"It's an interesting way of thinking about materials synthesis, which is very different from what people do now, which is usually a top-down approach," said Timothy Lu, lead author on the paper.
The paper was published in
This article is over a month old, voting and posting comments is disabled
RE: Oh snap
3/25/2014 5:19:20 AM
Rush did say this was a science website. (Rush of the Limbaugh variety, not the Canadian prog-rock variety, that is)
"We are going to continue to work with them to make sure they understand the reality of the Internet. A lot of these people don't have Ph.Ds, and they don't have a degree in computer science." -- RIM co-CEO Michael Lazaridis
Crowdfunded Sex Toy Lets You Control the Action From Your Wii Nunchuk
January 15, 2015, 3:42 PM
Elon Musk Plays Warcraft; But Still Finds Time to Sleep, Build a Mars Colony Ship
January 6, 2015, 9:54 PM
SpaceX Scrubs Falcon 9 Launch to ISS, Barge Landing Test, Friday Redo Targeted
January 6, 2015, 4:02 PM
Quick Note; Wreckage of Malaysian-Owned Passenger Jet Found
December 30, 2014, 12:42 PM
Quick Note: Drone Loses Fight to the Death With Kangaroo
December 23, 2014, 3:28 PM
Campbell's Monkeys Found to Use Different Dialects to Describe Local Threats
December 22, 2014, 3:52 PM
Most Popular Articles
Microsoft Shows Off Latest Windows 10 Build, Preps it for Next Week Release
January 21, 2015, 2:57 PM
Under the Hood: How DirectX 11.3 and 12 Will Supercharge Windows 10 Gaming
January 23, 2015, 12:34 PM
BlackBerry CEO Claims Devs are Violating Net Neutrality by Not Supporting BB10
January 22, 2015, 4:37 PM
Report: Samsung Drops Snapdragon 810 From Galaxy S6, Will Use Its Own Chips
January 21, 2015, 1:47 PM
Will Google Become America's Fifth Major Carrier?
January 22, 2015, 12:42 PM
Latest Blog Posts
Sceptre Airs 27", 120 Hz. 1080p Monitor/HDTV w/ 5 ms Response Time for $220
Dec 3, 2014, 10:32 PM
Costco Gives Employees Thanksgiving Off; Wal-Mart Leads "Black Thursday" Charge
Oct 29, 2014, 9:57 PM
"Bear Selfies" Fad Could Turn Deadly, Warn Nevada Wildlife Officials
Oct 28, 2014, 12:00 PM
The Surface Mini That Was Never Released Gets "Hands On" Treatment
Sep 26, 2014, 8:22 AM
ISIS Imposes Ban on Teaching Evolution in Iraq
Sep 17, 2014, 5:22 PM
More Blog Posts
Copyright 2015 DailyTech LLC. -
Terms, Conditions & Privacy Information