Aug 28, 2017 | By Tess

Embrapa Genetic Resources and Biotechnology’s Laboratory of Nanobiotechnology (LNANO) in Brasilia, Brazil has announced the recent adoption of 3D bioprinting technologies. According to researchers from the lab, the center’s new bioprinters will enable them to manufacture increasingly complex and realistic biological structures for agricultural research.

3D bioprinting technology, which has been increasingly explored in various scientific and medical fields across the globe, will be used by the Brazilian researchers to build complex microorganisms and bio-structures in a three-dimensional environment. Prior to 3D bioprinting, cultivation methods for cells relied on flat, two-dimensional layering processes.

Embrapa researcher Luciano Paulino da Silva

Luciano Paulino da Silva, the researcher at Embrapa who is leading the bioprinting effort, explains: “In traditional cultivation methods, cells are deposited in flat layers (2D) in culture microplates, forming a single layer for biological activity testing.”

“We intend to develop three-dimensional frameworks containing cells as well as biological structures that allow us to mimic the conditions we would have within a three-dimensional structure found in living organisms.”

In other words, by building up cellular structures in three dimensions, it becomes possible to create them in a more realistic fashion, more closely mimicking how cellular structures form and behave in a living organism.

“By re-creating environments closer to the reality of living organisms, biological activity tests will become more accurate and realistic,” Paulino da Silva adds.

Using models designed with CAD software, the Brazil research team plans to 3D print structures made from biocompatible materials that can house living cells. They will reportedly use this method to create samples of both plant and animal tissues, as well as “colonies of micro-organisms.”

One of the goals of adopting 3D bioprinting technologies in the lab is to further explore the potentials of bioprinting for agricultural applications and to increase education on bioprinting within the Latin American country. Ultimately, the researchers say they hope to create “plant and animal organs” as well as “structures that begin to function as if they were a living organism” with the bioprinting tech.

As we see on a regular basis, the applications and potentials of bioprinting are extensive, as the technology can fulfill uses in the pharmaceutical and drug testing sectors—for disease research, patient-specific drug delivery, and more. And one of the most publicized goals of bioprinting is to create implantable organs made from cells taken from a specific patient.

Paulino da Silva also notes the benefits that 3D bioprinting can have for agricultural research, as it can be used to create biofilms, or aggregated micro-organisms, that can be used for testing plant disease and infection treatments. 3D bioprinters could also be used to manufacture artificial seeds with almost identical properties to natural ones.

At LNANO, the researchers will begin their 3D bioprinting investigation with a project entitled “Prototyping and fast fabrication of biofilm, tissue and organ imitations using 3D bioprinters for in vitro biological activity tests of bioactive compounds and nanosystems obtained from Cerrado plants.” This project will be funded in part by Brazil’s Federal District Research Support Foundation.

 

 

Posted in 3D Printing Application

 

 

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