In DepthSynthetic Biology

In ‘living materials,’ microbes are makers

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Science  21 Feb 2020:
Vol. 367, Issue 6480, pp. 841
DOI: 10.1126/science.367.6480.841

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Life is central to much of our material world. We make building materials from wood and textiles from cotton. Microbes have also been engineered to improve their output of everything from fuels to medicines. Now, a new class of materials, known as engineered living materials, are being designed to use cells, mostly microbes, to build inert structural materials such as hardened cement or woodlike replacements for everything from construction materials to furniture. Some even incorporate living cells into the final mix. The result is materials with striking new capabilities: airport runways that build themselves and living bandages that grow within the body.

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