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Fabrication of living soft matter by symbiotic growth of unicellular microorganisms

Das, Anupam A. K.; Bovill, James; Ayesh, Maram; Stoyanov, Simeon D.; Paunov, Vesselin N.


Anupam A. K. Das

James Bovill

Maram Ayesh

Simeon D. Stoyanov

Vesselin N. Paunov


We report the fabrication of living soft matter made as a result of the symbiotic relationship of two unicellular microorganisms. The material is composed of bacterial cellulose produced in situ by acetobacter (Acetobacter aceti NCIMB 8132) in the presence of photosynthetic microalgae (Chlamydomonas reinhardtii cc-124), which integrates into a symbiotic consortium and gets embedded in the produced cellulose composite. The same concept of growing living materials can be applied to other symbiotic microorganism pairs similar to the combination of algae and fungi in lichens, which is widespread in Nature. We demonstrate the in situ growth and immobilisation of the C. reinhardtii cells in the bacterial cellulose matrix produced by the simultaneous growth of acetobacter. The effect of the growth media composition on the produced living materials was investigated. The microstructure and the morphology of the produced living biomaterials were dependent on the shape of the growth culture container and media stirring conditions, which control the access to oxygen. As the photosynthetic C. reinhardtii cells remain viable and produce oxygen as they spontaneously integrate into the matrix of the bacterial cellulose generated by the acetobacter, such living materials have the potential for various applications in bio-hydrogen generation from the immobilised microalgae. The proposed approach for building living soft matter can provide new ways of immobilising other commercially important microorganisms in a bacterial cellulose matrix as a result of symbiosis with acetobacter without the use of synthetic binding agents and in turn increase their production efficiency.


Das, A. A. K., Bovill, J., Ayesh, M., Stoyanov, S. D., & Paunov, V. N. (2016). Fabrication of living soft matter by symbiotic growth of unicellular microorganisms. Journal of Materials Chemistry B, 4(21), 3685-3694.

Acceptance Date Apr 16, 2016
Online Publication Date May 3, 2016
Publication Date May 7, 2016
Deposit Date Jun 10, 2016
Publicly Available Date Jun 10, 2016
Journal Journal of materials chemistry B
Print ISSN 2050-750X
Electronic ISSN 2050-7518
Publisher Royal Society of Chemistry
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 4
Issue 21
Pages 3685-3694
Keywords Soft matter
Public URL
Publisher URL!divAbstract
Additional Information : This document is Similarity Check deposited; : Supplementary Information; : Anupam A. K. Das (ResearcherID); : Simeon D. Stoyanov (ResearcherID); : The Royal Society of Chemistry has an exclusive publication licence for this journal; OPEN ACCESS: This article is freely available. This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence (CC BY 3.0); : Single-blind; : Received 26 November 2015; Accepted 16 April 2016; Advance Article published 3 May 2016; Version of Record published 25 May 2016


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