News Column

Living Materials

July 1, 2014

Anonymous



Unlike nonliving things, live cells respond to their environment, grow, and reproduce. Unlike living things, nonliving materials can do things like conduct electricity and emit light.

Material engineers at MIT are now creating hybrid materials that combine the properties of living and nonliving things. In one project, the researchers engineered the bacterium E. coli with peptides that are able to capture nonliving materials like gold nanoparticles, producing biofilms that are conductive and that have quantum mechanical properties.

The new "living materials" could produce highly efficient energy systems, self-healing structures, and even the scaffolding used for tissue engineering.

Source: MIT, www.mit.edu.

Artist's concept of bacterial cell engineered with nanofibers incorporating quantum dots (red and green spheres) and gold nanoparticles.


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Source: Futurist, The


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