‘Living paints’: GMO bacteria could be used to make biodegradable paints


Now here’s a bright idea.

Researchers in Europe have developed a technique for growing genetically modified bacteria that can be used as brightly colored “living paints” in manufacturing and art.

The colors generated by the bacteria, shiny and metallic, are actually generated by the same optical process that makes peacock feathers and butterfly wings so visually striking. The color comes not from organic pigments, but rather the very molecular structure of the bacterial colony.

[R]esearchers developed the unique process by genetically modifying colonies of flavobacteria, a kind of bacteria that produces colors as a byproduct of its own internal structure. Depending on how the genetics are manipulated, the bacteria reflect light at different wavelengths, potentially including all colors of the visual spectrum.

The new research could provide manufacturers with biodegradable, non-toxic paints that are grown instead of synthesized.

As to practical applications of the technology, any large-scale deployment is still several years away.

The living paints might have other useful applications, too. Because the living bacteria can react to other molecules, they could be used to make materials and surfaces that change color under designated circumstances.

Editor’s note: Read full study (behind paywall)

Read full, original post: Brightly Colored Bacteria Engineered Into Living Paint

Outbreak Daily Digest
Biotech Facts & Fallacies
Talking Biotech
Genetics Unzipped
Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

Video: Test everyone – Slovakia goes its own way to control COVID

As Europe sees record coronavirus cases and deaths, Slovakia is testing its entire adult population. WSJ's Drew Hinshaw explains how ...
mag insects image superjumbo v

Disaster interrupted: Which farming system better preserves insect populations: Organic or conventional?

A three-year run of fragmentary Armageddon-like studies had primed the journalism pumps and settled the media framing about the future ...
dead bee desolate city

Are we facing an ‘Insect Apocalypse’ caused by ‘intensive, industrial’ farming and agricultural chemicals? The media say yes; Science says ‘no’

The media call it the “Insect Apocalypse”. In the past three years, the phrase has become an accepted truth of ...
globalmethanebudget globalcarbonproject cropped x

Infographic: Cows cause climate change? Agriculture scientist says ‘belching bovines’ get too much blame

A recent interview by Caroline Stocks, a UK journalist who writes about food, agriculture and the environment, of air quality ...
organic hillside sweet corn x

Organic v conventional using GMOs: Which is the more sustainable farming?

Many consumers spend more for organic food to avoid genetically modified products in part because they believe that “industrial agriculture” ...
benjamin franklin x

Are most GMO safety studies funded by industry?

The assertion that biotech companies do the research and the government just signs off on it is false ...

Environmental Working Group: EWG challenges safety of GMOs, food pesticide residues

Known by some as the "Environmental Worrying Group," EWG lobbies for tighter GMO legislation and famously puts out annual "dirty dozen" list of fruits and ...
m hansen

Michael Hansen: Architect of Consumers Union ongoing anti-GMO campaign

Michael K. Hansen (born 1956) is thought by critics to be the prime mover behind the ongoing campaign against agricultural biotechnology at Consumer Reports. He is an ...
News on human & agricultural genetics and biotechnology delivered to your inbox.
Optional. Mail on special occasions.
Send this to a friend