Water-processable, biodegradable and coatable aquaplastic from engineered biofilms

Anna M. Duraj-Thatte, Avinash Manjula-Basavanna, Noémie Manuelle Dorval Courchesne, Giorgia I. Cannici, Antoni Sánchez-Ferrer, Benjamin P. Frank, Leonie van’t Hag, Sarah K. Cotts, D. Howard Fairbrother, Raffaele Mezzenga, Neel S. Joshi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


Petrochemical-based plastics have not only contaminated all parts of the globe, but are also causing potentially irreversible damage to our ecosystem because of their non-biodegradability. As bioplastics are limited in number, there is an urgent need to design and develop more biodegradable alternatives to mitigate the plastic menace. In this regard, we report aquaplastic, a new class of microbial biofilm-based biodegradable bioplastic that is water-processable, robust, templatable and coatable. Here, Escherichia coli was genetically engineered to produce protein-based hydrogels, which are cast and dried under ambient conditions to produce aquaplastic, which can withstand strong acid/base and organic solvents. In addition, aquaplastic can be healed and welded to form three-dimensional architectures using water. The combination of straightforward microbial fabrication, water processability and biodegradability makes aquaplastic a unique material worthy of further exploration for packaging and coating applications. [Figure not available: see fulltext.].

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalNature Chemical Biology
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 18 Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes

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