By tricking E.coli into incorporating gold nanoparticles or quantum dots into their proteins, the team has crafted biofilms with a range of crazy capabilities. Some conduct electricity. Others build gold nanowires and nanorods. Others still can modify the ways in which quantum dots fluoresce. In other words, by inserting a few key sequences into the bacterial genome, the team has given ordinary bacteria extraordinary capabilities.
In a few years your chair could be made of a living material, according to a team of MIT boffins who have worked out how to get bacteria to help them manufacture items.
The breakthrough was announced on Sunday in the Synthesis and patterning of tunable multiscale materials with engineered cells academic paper published in academic journal Nature. The research is another step in a new frontier of research that seeks to make the organic world just as programmable as the digital.