Anne S. Meyer, an associate professor of biology at the University of Rochester, and her colleagues at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands recently developed a 3D printing technique to engineer and study biofilms, which are three-dimensional communities of microorganisms that adhere to surfaces.
The findings are useful for developing synthetic materials and medications to combat the detrimental impacts of biofilms.
Biofilms can be both dangerous and advantageous to humans since they can cover the surfaces of materials and objects, including medical devices, and cause infections, as well as being resistant to a variety of medications and disinfectants.
Biofilms, on the other hand, can digest hazardous substances and contaminants in the environment, making them valuable in areas like wastewater treatment.
Meyer and her colleagues show that synthetic biofilms can behave like wild ones in their newest study,
which was published in the journal ACS Synthetic Biology (“Emergent Biological Endurance Depends on Extracellular Matrix Composition of Three-Dimensionally Printed Escherichia coli Biofilms”).
The researchers created a 3D printing approach that allows them to engineer and examine biofilms made of E. coli bacteria synthetically.
Researchers will be able to better understand the features of biofilms using this method,
allowing them to harness their helpful qualities while combating their negative impacts.
“This research demonstrates that our synthetic biofilms can behave like native biofilms in a variety of ways,
including demonstrating emergent drug resistance,” Meyer says, making them suitable model systems for anti-biofilm drug development.
Meyer’s lab has been leading a series of research endeavours to build synthetic materials that imitate nature. The materials can be used in a range of industries, including energy, medicine, technology, and fashion.
Meyer’s team has generated artificial nacre and graphene
using bacteria, as well as other 3D printing techniques, such as a revolutionary bioprinting process
for printing algae into living, photosynthetic materials.
Source: University of Rochester