A Straightforward Approach for 3D Bacterial Printing

Benjamin A.E. Lehner, Dominik T. Schmieden, Anne S. Meyer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

72 Citations (Scopus)
124 Downloads (Pure)


Sustainable and personally tailored materials production is an emerging challenge to society. Living organisms can produce and pattern an extraordinarily wide range of different molecules in a sustainable way. These natural systems offer an abundant source of inspiration for the development of new environmentally friendly materials production techniques. In this paper, we describe the first steps toward the 3-dimensional printing of bacterial cultures for materials production and patterning. This methodology combines the capability of bacteria to form new materials with the reproducibility and tailored approach of 3D printing systems. For this purpose, a commercial 3D printer was modified for bacterial systems, and new alginate-based bioink chemistry was developed. Printing temperature, printhead speed, and bioink extrusion rate were all adapted and customized to maximize bacterial health and spatial resolution of printed structures. Our combination of 3D printing technology with biological systems enables a sustainable approach for the production of numerous new materials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1124-1130
Number of pages7
JournalACS Synthetic Biology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 21 Jul 2017


  • 3D printing
  • alginate
  • Escherichia coli
  • synthetic biology


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