BacterioFabrication: a grown book

The bacterium Gluconoacetobacter xylinus, naturally produces films of bacterial cellulose, identical in structure to the plant based material. C-MOULD’S GXCELL, is a hyper-cellulose producing strain of this bacterium which rapidly forms thick mats of this versatile and natural polysaccharide. Cellulose is also the major constituent of paper but here it is mainly obtained from wood pulp. The environmental impact of paper production is significant, it having a number of adverse effects on the environment including deforestation, and air, water and land pollution. Scientists at C-MOULD, have developed a sustainable and less environmentally damaging form of paper that is derived from GXCELL and have used this process to grow a small book entirely from bacteria. Not only is the fabric of the book produced by bacteria, but the book is printed and annotated with BioChromes, unique and living pigments, again produced by bacteria. To our knowledge this is the first book to be grown and produced using just bacteria. The story of how the book was made, in just a week, is  illustrated below. Next step cloning the cellulose operon from Gluconoacetobacter into Cyanobacteria so that we can dispense with the need to add glucose and  thus be able grow paper from  just sunlight.

GXCELL on an agar plate before sheet inoculation.

GXCELL on an agar plate before sheet inoculation.

A  thick sheet of cellulose produced by GXCELL.

A thick sheet of cellulose produced by GXCELL.

A  thick sheet of cellulose produced by GXCELL.

A thick sheet of cellulose produced by GXCELL.

A  thick sheet of cellulose produced by GXCELL.

A thick sheet of cellulose produced by GXCELL.

The finished bacterial paper

The finished bacterial paper

The partially dried  bacterial paper

The partially dried bacterial paper

The blue BioChrome ink being grown

The blue BioChrome ink being grown

On the left a thick sheet of cellulose produced by GXCELL. On the right a thin and fragile film produced by a normal strain of Gluconoacetobacter xylinus

On the left a thick sheet of cellulose produced by GXCELL. On the right a thin and fragile film produced by a normal strain of Gluconoacetobacter xylinus

A thin and fragile cellulose film produced by a normal strain of Gluconoacetobacter xylinus

A thin and fragile cellulose film produced by a normal strain of Gluconoacetobacter xylinus

The finished bacterial paper

The finished bacterial paper

The finished bacterial paper

The finished bacterial paper

Cutting the nanocellulose sheets

Cutting the nanocellulose sheets

The blue BioChrome Ink

The blue BioChrome Ink

Surface detail of a page

Surface detail of a page

BioChrome colours

BioChrome colours

Application of the BioChrome ink

Application of the BioChrome ink

Surface detail of a page

Surface detail of a page

Surface detail of a page

Surface detail of a page

Surface detail of two pages

Surface detail of two pages

Printed text and other available BioChrome colours

Printed text and other available BioChrome colours

Printed text and other available BioChrome colours

Printed text and other available BioChrome colours

Other available BioChrome colours

Other available BioChrome colours

Printed text

Printed text

Printed text and other available BioChrome colours

Printed text and other available BioChrome colours

Turning a page on the finished book

Turning a page on the finished book

Turning a page on the finished book

Turning a page on the finished book

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Turning a page on the finished book

Turning a page on the finished book

Turning a page on the finished book

Turning a page on the finished book

LEGO® Bricks as Building Blocks for Centimetre-Scale Biological Environments: The Case of Bacteria

Top view in daylight.

Top view in daylight.

Top view in the dark, with the bioluminescent bacteria visible.

Top view in the dark, with the bioluminescent bacteria visible.

Side view

Side view

Top view in the dark, with the bioluminescent bacteria visible. There are also some individual colonies.

Top view in the dark, with the bioluminescent bacteria visible. There are also some individual colonies.

Top view in daylight.

Top view in daylight.

 

 

A simple project based on the report by, and insight of, Lind et al., (2014) http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0100867

LEGO® bricks are readily available interlocking pieces of plastic, used as a building toy by many millions of children throughout the world. Here they are adapted to generate engineered environments for cm-scale biological systems, and in particular for bacteria. The unique modularity of these building blocks is used to create inexpensive and reconfigurable for environments for bacterial growth. Here a very simple LEGO® system has been used to culture the bioluminescent bacterium Photobacterium phosphoreum. In combination with, Microbiology at Home: A Short Non-Laboratory Manual for Enthusiasts and BioArtists 2nd Edition   (http://exploringtheinvisible.com/2013/11/04/microbiology-at-home-a-short-non-laboratory-manual-for-enthusiasts-and-bioartists-2nd-edition/),  LEGO® based microbiological systems may be an important tool for DIY Biologists, BioHackers and educationalists.

More Animalcules

DSC_0079

More characters from beneath the microscope

So In A Single Drop of Water

‘So in a single drop of water the microscope discovers, what motions, what tumult, what wars, what pursuits, what stratagems, what a circle-dance of Death & Life, Death hunting Life & Life renewed and invigorated by Death … a many meaning cypher.’ – Samuel Taylor Coleridge

Optimizing Bioluminescence: Photobacterium phosphoreum HB

P. phosphoreum HB (on the left hand side) compared with tow other strains . It's much brighter that the other strains.

P. phosphoreum HB (on the left hand side) compared with two other strains . It’s much brighter than the other strains.

P. phosphoreum HB on the left hand side. It's much brighter that the other strain and illuminates the environment around it

P. phosphoreum HB on the left hand side. It’s much brighter that the other strain and illuminates the environment around it

Through a long  program of mutation and selection,  C-MOULD has developed an especially bright strain of the bioluminescent bacterium Photobacterium phosphoreum. Here it has been tested against other available strains of this bacterium. Its designation is P. phosphoreum HB (hyper bright).

Animalcules: Whales

In the context of their relative scale, these two animalcules are like whales, dwarfing the other infusoria and bacteria around them. They move with a similar grace and elegance, but for them their journeys cover fractions of a centimetre and not hundreds of kilometres.

So In A Single Drop Of Water

‘So in a single drop of water the microscope discovers, what motions, what tumult, what wars, what pursuits, what stratagems, what a circle-dance of Death & Life, Death hunting Life & Life renewed and invigorated by Death … a many meaning cypher.’ – Samuel Taylor Coleridge