Pressure sensors generated from pattern-forming bacteria

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Paul Ruffin Scarborough, Stefan Zauscher, and Duke colleagues have programmed bacteria with a synthetic gene circuit to turn them into working devices.

As a bacterial colony grows into the shape of a hemisphere, the gene circuit triggers the production of a protein, to distribute within the colony, that recruits inorganic materials. Gold nanoparticles enable  the system to form a shell around the bacterial colony, resulting in  a pressure sensor.

This is the first time that a composite structure was produced by programming the cells themselves, and controlling their access to nutrients, but still leaving the bacteria free to grow in three dimensions.

Click to view Duke University video


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