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Issue 26, 2013
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Accessing biology's toolbox for the mesoscale biofabrication of soft matter

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Abstract

Biology is a master of mesoscale science, possessing unprecedented capabilities for fabricating components with nano-scale precision and then assembling them over a hierarchy of length scales. Biology's fabrication prowess is well-recognized and there has been considerable effort to mimic these capabilities to create materials with diverse and multiple functions. In this review, we pose the question – why mimic, why not directly use the materials and mechanisms that biology provides to biofabricate functional materials? This question seems especially relevant when considering that many of the envisioned applications – from regenerative medicine to bioelectronics – involve biology. Here, we provide a sampling to illustrate how self-assembly, enzymatic-assembly and the emerging tools of modern biology can be enlisted to create functional soft matter. We envision that biofabrication will provide a biocompatible approach to mesoscale science and yield products that are safe, sustainable and potentially even edible.

Graphical abstract: Accessing biology's toolbox for the mesoscale biofabrication of soft matter

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Publication details

The article was received on 20 Feb 2013, accepted on 23 May 2013 and first published on 03 Jun 2013


Article type: Review Article
DOI: 10.1039/C3SM50527H
Citation: Soft Matter, 2013,9, 6019-6032
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    Accessing biology's toolbox for the mesoscale biofabrication of soft matter

    G. F. Payne, E. Kim, Y. Cheng, H. Wu, R. Ghodssi, G. W. Rubloff, S. R. Raghavan, J. N. Culver and W. E. Bentley, Soft Matter, 2013, 9, 6019
    DOI: 10.1039/C3SM50527H

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