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Macromolecular Bioscience

Living Composites of Bacteria and Polymers as Biomimetic Films for Metal Sequestration and Bioremediation

Christian Knierim, Michaela Enzeroth, Patrick Kaiser, Christian Dams, David Nette, Andreas Seubert, Andreas Klingl, Charles L. Greenblatt, Valérie Jérôme, Seema Agarwal, Ruth Freitag and Andreas Greiner

Department of Chemistry, Philipps-Universität Marburg, Marburg, Germany.


Herein, we report on composite materials of biologically active microorganisms placed in a synthetic polymer matrix. These so-called “living composites” were utilized for gold sequestration (Micrococcus luteus) and bioremediation of nitrite (Nitrobacter winogradskyi) to demonstrate functionality. For the preparation of the living composites the bacteria were first encased in a water-soluble polymer fiber (poly(vinyl alcohol), PVA) followed by coating the fibers with a shell of hydrophobic poly(p-xylylene) (PPX) by chemical vapor deposition (CVD). The combination of bacteria with polymer materials assured the stability and biologically activity of the bacteria in an aqueous environment for several weeks.

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