June 10, 2023
Researchers design a multifunctional soil-inspired chemical system

Researchers design a multifunctional soil-inspired chemical system

Soil-inspired dynamic response chemical system for microbial modulation. Credit: Lin Yiliang

Soil is a dynamic system of microbe-material interactions and environmental response. The soil-microbe complex is an integrated and adaptable system that can remodel its state according to the external environment.

Inspired by these soil features, the researchers designed a chemical system in which sensing and modification can be induced by external stimuli. Prof. Gao Xiang from the Shenzhen Institute of Advanced Technology (SIAT) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences is the first author of this study.

This study was published in Chemistry of Nature on October 24.

The microbial colonized soil environment is a perfect example of microbe-material interaction in nature. On the one hand, endogenous soil minerals and soil organic matter dynamically interact with exogenous factors such as moisture and mechanical force to drive soil microbial communities. On the other hand, soil microbes regulate biogeochemical cycles to enrich the soil with nutrients such as nitrogen, phosphorus, and sulfur.

The research team proposed a bottom-up synthetic approach to fabricate a chemical system consisting of nanostructured minerals, starch grains, and liquid metals to represent loosely immobilized inorganic and organic materials and mobile phases in soil.

“The system responds chemically, optically and mechanically with programmable properties,” said Professor Lin Yiliang, corresponding and first author of this study and currently an assistant professor at the National University of Singapore. “We can ‘encode’ conductive information into the materials with mechanical pressure or laser patterning and then ‘erase’ the conductivity with chemical vapors. The whole process is reversible.”

In addition to its structural similarity to real soil and its dynamic response, the soil-inspired chemical system not only enhances microbial metabolism in vitro, but also enriches gut bacterial diversity under pathological conditions and regulates bacterial dysbiosis in vivo.

In in vivo experiments, the soil-inspired chemical system enhanced gut microbiota abundance and regulated dysregulated gut microbes under pathological conditions. “Soil-inspired chemical systems have shown great promise for the treatment of gastrointestinal disorders,” said Professor Gao Xiang from SIAT, the first author of the study.

In addition to use on gut microbial flora, this chemical system can be used to study other microbial systems, such as skin and soil microflora, which may have implications for human health and agricultural stability and productivity. -ecosystems.

The team is developing a microscope to image microbes in soil and plants at the micrometer scale

More information:
Yiliang Lin et al, A Soil-Inspired Dynamic Response Chemical System for Microbial Modulation, Chemistry of Nature (2022). DOI: 10.1038/s41557-022-01064-2

Provided by the Chinese Academy of Sciences

Reference: Researchers design multifunctional soil-inspired chemical system (2022, October 28) retrieved October 29, 2022 from https://phys.org/news/2022-10-soil-inspired-multifunctional-chemical.html

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