Scalable bacterial production of moldable and recyclable biomineralized cellulose with tunable mechanical properties
Cell Reports Physical Science
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Yu, K., Spiesz, E., Balasubramanian, S., Schmieden, D., Meyer, A., & Aubin-Tam, M. (2021). Scalable bacterial production of moldable and recyclable biomineralized cellulose with tunable mechanical properties. Cell Reports Physical Science, 2 (6) https://doi.org/10.1016/j.xcrp.2021.100464
Sustainable structural materials with excellent impact-resistance properties are urgently needed but challenging to produce, especially in a scalable fashion and with control over 3D shape. Here, we show that bacterial cellulose (BC) and bacterially precipitated calcium carbonate self-assemble into a layered structure reminiscent of tough biomineralized materials in nature (nacre, bone, dentin). The fabrication method consists of biomineralizing BC to form an organic/inorganic mixed slurry, in which calcium carbonate crystal size is controlled with bacterial poly(γ-glutamic acid) and magnesium ions. This slurry self-assembles into a layered material that combines high toughness and high impact and fire resistance. The rapid fabrication is readily scalable, without involving toxic chemicals. Notably, the biomineralized BC can be repeatedly recycled and molded into any desired 3D shape and size using a simple kitchen blender and sieve. This fully biodegradable composite is well suited for use as a component in daily life, including furniture, helmets, and protective garments.
The authors thank Ward Groutars and Elvin Karana for useful discussions. K.Y. is supported financially by the China Scholarship Council (CSC no.201706630001). S.B. is funded by the Air Force Office of Scientific Research, Asian Office of Aerospace Research and Development (grant no. FA2386-18-1-4059).
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.xcrp.2021.100464
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/329857
Attribution 4.0 International
Licence URL: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/