Corals and algae are in close symbiosis with each other: the body of the coral is home to algae, and they, in turn, produce sugar, which feeds on the host. But what is interesting – specially printed on a 3D printer biocoral been found for algae-even more favourable than their natural ally. The scientists have a chance to solve the problem of the extinction of corals and at the same time to provide tseny source of biofuels.

Researchers from Cambridge and the University of California San Diego have developed a biocompatible algae and synthetic coral. They used the technology of rapid photopolymer print, allowing you to create objects with a precision micrometer for a few minutes.

Printed biocoral is a skeleton of the “coral tissue”. It is made of polymer gel “PEGDA” with the addition of the cellulose nanocrystals. The fabric itself consists of a polymeric hydrogel based on gelatin “GelMA” – it is combined with living cells of algae and other cellulose.

Thanks to the nanocrystals and porous structure of the skeleton biocoral much better than the present, absorbs the light and sends it into the weeds. In fact, microalgae Marinichlorella kaistiae implanted into the artificial polyp, settled on it 100 times denser than in natural coral.

This technology can be further developed for use in more efficient and compact mechanisms for growing algae for biofuels. But most importantly – it can help to slow the destruction of algae and global extinction of coral.
Source — University of Cambridge