Buildings the living. Microorganisms embedded in the walls. No, we're not talking about the places infested by micro-organisms, but rather facts, structurally, by bacteria. Or, at least, in part. The innovative idea comes from a team of researchers overseas who managed to create bricks of the living, consisting of bacteria, mixed with sand and of the gelatinous material. A brick green, low environmental impact, and potentially able to regenerate, and a day to absorb harmful toxins or even brighten on command, and perhaps taking advantage of the phenomenon of bioluminescence. The details are recounted in the pages of the magazine Matter. the take Advantage of the micro-organisms the promises of The materials, the living building (in English we talk about living, building materials, LBM) aim to exploit the properties of the micro-organisms within infrastructure, say scientists in the opening of this paper. In the case of the micro-organisms exploited by the researchers were cyanobacteria, photosynthetic, of the genus Synechococcus, facts, growing on a skeleton of gelatine and sand and mixed with a culture medium appropriate. Colonies of cyanobacteria were used to harden the matrix of gelatin and sand, due to their ability to precipitate calcium carbonate (starting from the ingredients mixed in the culture medium) and at the same time to make it come alive. "We used the cyanobacterial photosynthetic for biomineralizzare the matrix base," he explained, in fact, Wil Srubar, University of Colorado-Boulder, at the head of the studio: "We created something that is really green and seems to be a kind of material Frankenstein". The calcium carbonate confers a high resistance to these bricks, write the scientists, comparable (referring to the compressive strength) of the cement mortars. brick living In fact, these bricks are to be considered as living in conditions of humidity close to 50%, after about a month, were alive from 9 to 14% of the bacterial colonies, and modulating their metabolic activity, it was possible to obtain up to three generations from one generation mother. In contrast, the viability of microorganisms embedded in concrete structures with the purpose to confer properties of self-healing materials so far had been less than 1%, explain the researchers. The fact to be made of living material, capable of reproducing, makes the bricks able to repair itself, and then to regenerate, provided that it can be fed to the bacteria to a new nutrient (and gelatinous matrix, and sand). And each generation is added to the new calcium carbonate due to the activity of micro-organisms. the possibilities and Limits of the brick-living In fact, this is only a prototype, as specifying the same researchers, to optimize. For example, the bricks of the living remain-yes you live - and can therefore maintain the properties associated to the bacteria - but at the moment they can only do so in conditions of high humidity. Which is why scientists are working to keep viable bacteria even in conditions that are more dry, those in which the bricks are more resistant. "We are faced with a material that lays the foundation for deployment of new ones that can be engineered to interact and respond to the environment," he explained Srubar. Perhaps even on Mars, in extreme conditions, has added to the scientist: "These materials could work especially well because they use the sunlight to grow and proliferate with few materials needed for their training."
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