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Microbial Materials

Scientists co-opt viruses, bacteria, and fungi to build new structures

By
1:08pm, June 30, 2003

Bone. Nerve. Muscle. Horn. Hide. Silk. With ingenious assemblages of atoms and molecules, biology produces fantastic substances that have long inspired scientists to develop the synthetic materials of the modern landscape. Lately, materials scientists have turned to biology's smallest individuals–viruses, bacteria, and fungi. Not only can these microbes be coaxed to produce high-tech components, but they can also themselves serve as valuable ingredients in new classes of materials.

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