Canadian Consulting Engineer

Look out construction workers: bacteria build pyramids in 15 minutes

A professor at the Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal's NanoRobotics Laboratory has managed to train living bacte...

April 12, 2010   Canadian Consulting Engineer

A professor at the Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal’s NanoRobotics Laboratory has managed to train living bacteria to build a nanopyramid. The “miniature construction workers are magnetotactic bacteria (MTB). They have an internal compass that allows them to be pulled by magnetic fields and can generate a thrust force of approximately 4 picoNewtons.
In an experiment using computer-controlled magnetic fields, the bacteria transported several epoxy nanobricks and assembled them into a step-pyramid structure in `4 minutes. The researchers also piloted a group of bacteria through the bloodstream of a rat using the same computer apparatus.

Professor Sylvain Martel headed the team at Ecole Polytechnique.

A video of the bacteria building the nanopyramid can be watched at www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCS0dQK5P1Y&feature=player_embedded


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