MIT & Imperial College Researchers Create Living Materials

Inspired by how SCOBY (symbiotic culture of bacteria and yeast) is used to ferment kombucha, MIT and Imperial College London researchers have produced several proof of concept living materials. Drawing on the flexibility of lab-grown yeast, Timothy Lu (MIT) and Tom Ellis (Imperial College) have produced microbe cultures that detect environmental pollutants, and glow in the dark when exposed to certain hues of light. “We foresee a future where diverse materials could be grown at home or in local production facilities, using biology rather than resource-intensive centralized manufacturing,” says Lu.

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