"Imagine a world where biological fabrication replaces traditional manufacture, plants that grow products, and bacteria genetically reprogrammed to "biofacture“ new materials, artefacts, energy or medicine“
- Alive, 2013 -
(A) Scanning electron microscope (SEM) images of developed raw fibers grown under different conditions. (B) Overlapping microscopic image of developed raw fibers with the respective binarized/segmented/watershed/skeletonized image. (C) Binarized optical microscope image of cross-section of fully developed raw fiber. Image analysis shows a clear differentiation between the lumen and cell wall. From the images, maturity (θ) of 0.82 was determined. (D) Sequence of microscopic images of raw fibers under crossed polarizers at different angles (0°, 90°, 180° and 270°) and in the absence of tension or straightening.
“Can we use the complexity of nature for biological fabrication of materials?”
This question follows the developing trend, headed by synthetic biology, for converting biological systems into toolboxes that allow the development of new materials with new properties. What if instead of using engineered bacteria, we could use the optimized natural systems already available such as plants to achieve the same goal? We could combine plant biology and material science to provide new functionalities to raw materials for a wide range of applications.
F. Natalio, M. N. Tahir, N. Friedrich, M. Köck, G. Fritz-Popovski, O. Paris, R. Paschke, "Structural analysis of Gossypium hirsutum fibers grown under greenhouse and hydroponic conditions”, accepted. in J. Struct. Biol.
Growing hydroponic organic cotton (Gossypium hirsutum) timelapse