Living Paint

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Scientists have created an innovative paint that goes beyond traditional aesthetics – it contains cyanobacteria capable of producing oxygen and absorbing carbon dioxide, New Atlas reported.

Cyanobacteria, often referred to as blue-green algae, are well-known for their photosynthetic abilities. They can capture carbon dioxide from the environment and convert it into organic compounds, all while thriving in challenging conditions.

For their paper, researchers developed a water-based paint that uses a tough type of cyanobacteria, known as Chroococcidiopsis cubana. This microorganism is known to endure extreme conditions, such as high temperatures, different pH levels, dry environments and radiation.

To create their “green living paint,” they immobilized the cyanobacteria within a biocoating made of polymer particles in water. This mixture was fully dried and then rehydrated.

The team noticed that C. cubana remained viable throughout the process: The rate of oxygen production steadily increased, ultimately reaching levels of 0.4 grams of oxygen per gram of biomass per day. They also estimated that carbon capture reached 0.31 grams of carbon dioxide per gram of biomass per day.

The study’s goal was to create a sustainable, robust and ready-to-use biocoating that can help address environmental challenges, such as rising greenhouse gas levels and climate change. One significant advantage of such coatings is their potential to reduce water consumption.

But the authors are also hoping that C. cubana’s toughness can also help in developing biotechnological applications for space exploration.

“The photosynthetic Chroococcidiopsis have an extraordinary ability to survive in extreme environments, like droughts and after high levels of UV radiation exposure,” said lead author Simone Krings. “This makes them potential candidates for Mars colonization.”

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