Harvard Researchers Using Bacteria to Transform CO2 into Material for 3D Printing

Published by , July 21, 2017 12:16 pm

(3Ders.org) A synthetic biology project at Harvard Medical School is using bacteria to transform carbon dioxide (CO2) into more useful compounds, such as plastic. The innovative process could one day be used to create building materials on Mars (where the atmosphere is composed mainly of CO2), which could in turn be 3D printed into structures.
Post doctoral fellow Shannon Nangle, explained how she and her co-researchers were transforming a bacteria called R. eutropha into usable polymer compounds and the impact this process could have not only on Mars, but also here on Earth.
“[The bacteria] can actually fill up their cells with about 80 percent of this polymer,” she said. “It’s not an ideal material for industrial processing, so what we want to do is use metabolic engineering techniques to actually modulate the material properties of this polymer such that we can use it for 3D printing, injection molding, other industrial-type machining.”

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