Researchers have unlocked the genetic code behind some of the brightest and most vibrant colours in nature.
The paper, published in the journal PNAS, is the first study of the genetics of structural colour – as seen in butterfly wings and peacock feathers – and paves the way for genetic research in a variety of structurally coloured organisms.
This is the first systematic study of the genes underpinning structural colours — not only in bacteria but in any living system.
Villads Egede Johansen
The study is a collaboration between the University of Cambridge and Dutch company Hoekmine BV and shows how genetics can change the colour, and appearance, of certain types of bacteria. The results open up the possibility of harvesting these bacteria for the large-scale manufacturing of nanostructured materials: biodegradable, non-toxic paints could be ‘grown’ and not made, for example.
Flavobacterium is a type of bacteria that packs together in colonies that produce striking metallic colours, which come not from pigments, but from their internal structure, which reflects light at certain wavelengths. Scientists are still puzzled as to how these intricate structures are genetically engineered by nature, however.
“It is crucial to map the genes responsible for the structural colouration for further understanding of how nanostructures are engineered in nature,” said first author Villads Egede Johansen, from Cambridge’s Department of Chemistry. “This is the first systematic study of the genes underpinning structural colours — not only in bacteria but in any living system.”
The researchers compared the genetic information to optical properties and anatomy of wild-type and mutated bacterial colonies to understand how genes regulate the colour of the colony.
By genetically mutating the bacteria, the researchers changed their dimensions or their ability to move, which altered the geometry of the colonies. By changing the geometry, they changed the colour: they changed the original metallic green colour of the colony in the entire visible range from blue to red. They were also able to create duller colouration or make the colour disappear entirely.
“We mapped several genes with previously unknown functions and we correlated them to the colonies’ self-organisational capacity and their colouration,” said senior author Dr Colin Ingham, CEO of Hoekmine BV.
“From an applied perspective, this bacterial system allows us to achieve tuneable living photonic structures that can be reproduced in abundance, avoiding traditional nanofabrication methods,” said co-senior author Dr Silvia Vignolini from the Cambridge’s Department of Chemistry. “We see a potential in the use of such bacterial colonies as photonic pigments that can be readily optimised for changing colouration under external stimuli and that can interface with other living tissues, thereby adapting to variable environments. The future is open for biodegradable paints on our cars and walls — simply by growing exactly the colour and appearance we want!”
The Latest on: Biodegradable paints
- The 2020 Kia Soul Will Be Green, Is Coming Soon on November 14, 2018 at 2:05 pm
We also will not deny the re-emergence of green paint on modern cars, especially how sharp it looks against the new Soul's contrasting black trim on its upper D-pillar and the oversized taillight. How... […]
- After 25 years, The Green Project builds from St. Roch to recycle in all all colors on November 14, 2018 at 9:26 am
The Green Project began as a paint-recycling program nearly 25 years ago, but the nonprofit organization is now poised to become a one-stop shop for eco-friendly home renovation projects. Situated in ... […]
- Trading Draymond Green Would Dramatically Drop the Warriors' Championship Chances on November 14, 2018 at 8:51 am
Last week, with Green sitting out, the Bucks went into Golden State and slaughtered them in the paint. I know it’s just one regular season game and the Warriors have had attention lapses before ... […]
- Paint It Red on November 13, 2018 at 5:31 pm
These are boisterous crowds who dress in the green and yellow of the national flag, sometimes sporting his face on T-shirts. Many post pictures on social media brandishing heavy artillery, or videos s... […]
- Garza, Baer lead Iowa hoops past Green Bay on November 11, 2018 at 3:23 pm
The Hawkeyes got the win but gave up 82 to a Green Bay squad that averaged 76.3 last season, including 42 points in the paint, even though Iowa said it believed it had an advantage in the post. Green ... […]
- Taking the stage: A green ogre named Shrek, with Brewer ACTS shows on November 11, 2018 at 12:08 am
Get ready for green body paint, at least one furry onesie and a lot of singing and dancing about finding your best self. Journey to Duloc, with a green ogre in a far-away swamp that is invaded by a ho... […]
- Shreveport green hosts household hazardous waste event on November 10, 2018 at 2:07 pm
Shreveport Green oversees 8 collections a year for the public. Residents in Caddo and Bossier Parishes can bring their household hazardous materials to be properly disposed of. "We take anything from ... […]
- Go green with your Thanksgiving decorations on November 9, 2018 at 1:11 pm
However, going green with your Thanksgiving decorations is easier and a ... the fun is emptying of the bottle in order to decorate it! Once it is clean and dry, paint the entire bottle the desired col... […]
- NYT Best-Selling Author Jane Green Loves a Good Renovation Project on November 9, 2018 at 12:52 pm
Check the before and after photos for yourself: Green's made several renovations over the years, and not every project was of the DIY variety. "We've made a lot of decorative additions—wallpaper, pain... […]
- Warriors Rumors: Draymond Green to Return from Injuries on Monday vs. Clippers on November 9, 2018 at 6:42 am
And with the Warriors going just 10-of-28 from beyond the arc, getting dominated in the paint made for a long night. Green is not the only Warriors player banged up, though. Shaun Livingston has ... […]
via Google News and Bing News