Tag: Microbial Factories

suzanne lee
Hypermaterials

Interview: Suzanne Lee, Fashion Innovator Who Grows Clothing in the Laboratory

Imagine you could grow your own clothes, using fermented tea, bacteria, yeast, and other microorganisms that can spin the ingredients into eco-friendly fibers. This is exactly what fashion designer Suzanne Lee pioneered. She investigated the possibility of creating clothing through the use of microbial cellulose. For this research project Lee coined the term Biocouture, which transitioned to a biocreative consultancy some years ago.

Today, she is the Creative Director of Modern Meadow Inc, an innovative New York-based team of scientists, engineers, designers and artisans developing cultured animal products and exploring new ways to create sustainable animal materials, such as lab-grown leather. Lee is also founder of Biofabricate, the leading event for the field of design, biology and technology, focused on the emerging world of grown materials.

We recently talked with Suzanne Lee about the textile industry and technology, growing leather in the lab, and the use of new alternative materials in the future of fashion.

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Biopolitics

Interview: Nadine Bongaerts, Synthetic Biologist Bridging Science with Society

Nadine Bongaerts is a Dutch synthetic biologist and entrepreneur who is building bridges between science, business and society. Fascinated by engineering life at the smallest scale, she designs bacteria with new functions. In 2010, she joined a team of TU Delft students to participated in the worldwide synthetic biology competition iGEM (Internationally Genetically Engineered Machine) for which they developed DNA bricks that turned bacteria into minuscule oil-degrading cells. The work was recognized nationally and internationally and awarded with different prizes. Her current research focuses on using genetic engineering of bacteria to produce a pearl-like material with advanced mechanical properties.

Bongaerts is always looking for creative ways to share her knowledge and connect science to societal developments. This resulted in the co-founding of Biotecture (2011), a company for communication and education of Life Sciences. Since 2014, she is Global Community Director of Hello Tomorrow in which she leads a global network of scientists, engineers, entrepreneurs and investors to stimulate interdisciplinary collaborations that accelerate scientific findings to the market.

We recently talk to Nadine Bongaerts about the role and impact of synthetic biology, the gap between bio­sciences and society and the importance of communication to overcome the fear of new technologies.

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B
Bionics

Bio Art & Design Awards 2015

So, you are well aware that biotech will drive our evolution, you took the crash course on synthetic genomics, you’ve got your map of the DNA world in your backpack and are now eager to redesign some microbes that turn waste into energy, eat plastic, detect flu, or build a better being altogether? You have a brilliant project plan already, but only need some – let say– euro 25.000 and a bit of help from a research group to turn your vision into reality? We have cake for you.

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Chloe Rutzerveld
Food Technology

Interview: Chloé Rutzerveld, Designer Who Wants to Grow Healthy 3D Printed Food

The next guest in our interview series is Chloé Rutzerveld, young talented and promising Food and Concept designer, from Eindhoven University of Technology. Chloé is interested in combining aspects of food, design, nature, culture and life sciences in a form of critical design. She uses food as a medium to address, communicate and discuss social, cultural or scientific issues.

Throughout 2014, Chloé worked on a 3D food printing project, titled Edible Growth, to show how high-tech or lab-produced food doesn’t have to be unhealthy, unnatural or not tasteful. Her concept is an example of a future food product fully natural, healthy, and sustainable.

The working principle combines aspects of nature, science, technology and design: multiple layers containing seeds, spores and yeast are printed according to a personalized 3D file. Within five days the plants and fungi mature and the yeast ferments the solid inside into a liquid. Depending on the preferred intensity, the consumer decides when to harvest and eat the edible. While the project is still speculative due to technological limits, the concept is very intriguing.

We recently talked with Chloé about people’s response to Edible Growth, the profession of food designer and new preparation methods and products that could be on our plate one day. Here’s what she had to say:

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cow-butt-plug
Humane-Technology

Cow Poower! Bacteria Turn Poo into Fuel

Fair Oaks Farm in Indiana is squeezing out more than milk from their 36,000 cows. Around 2 million gallons of compressed natural gas (CNG) fuel is created each year from tons and tons of cow poop.

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artificial life
Bionics

Artifice Earth: Adam Rutherford on the Promises of Synthetic Biology

In the basement recording studio of the journal Nature scientist and broadcaster Adam Rutherford sat down with speculative architect Liam Young to discuss the mythical beasts of synthetic biology. Rutherford recently worked with the BBC on a series called the ‘Gene Code’ which explored the consequences of decoding the human genome. Recognizing the potential externalities of communicating science poorly, Rutherford works at conveying the poorly understood field of synthetic biology to a broader audience.

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Leeches are the new beauty
Guided Growth

Engineering Beneficial Parasites

Toxoplasma gondii is a parasite that causes rats to become less afraid of cats. It also might change the behavior of humans, making women more outgoing and warmhearted, while men get jealous and suspicious. Toxoplasma gondii is shed in cat feces, which get eaten by rats. Infected rats become fearless to cats and then get caught easily, thus completing the parasite’s cycle through its different hosts. If a parasite can make you feel friendly, what other unusual benefits might they have?

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