Bionic corals printed on the printer

Scientists have managed to artificially reproduce the structure of the living coral uses algae symbionts. This technology will allow both to explore the life and development of corals in the laboratory and to use their effective scheme of photosynthesis for the industrial production of biomass. Article published in the journal Nature Communications.

Animal of the class of coral polyps can be very different, but the greatest popularity was gained by those species that use calcareous skeleton and form reefs. Basically, these types of corals common to the whole colony the skeleton in the recesses are separate individuals, living associated membrane similar to the skin. Many of these species are inhabited by symbiotic algae that produce nutrients for the host in exchange for protection and help in photosynthesis.

Daniel Vandresen (Daniel Wangpraseurt) from Cambridge University and his colleagues decided to artificially produce a living structure such as coral. Primarily, scientists are interested in their ability to control the light. Calcareous skeleton of coral is translucent and has a shape that scatters and pretrial light, distributing it throughout the entire depth of the colony. This increases the quantity of available algae solar energy, which allows to achieve higher density cells.

A sample was taken by corals of the family Pocilloporidae, inhabited by algae Symbiodinium. With the help of 3D printing suitable for optical properties of plastic first produced the skeleton, mimicking natural.

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