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

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