Microbial Mule; June 2012; Scientific American Magazine; by Ferris Jabr; 1 Page(s)
Tiny robots that swim through our blood vessels attacking invaders have not quite crossed the line that separates science fiction from science—but there might be a way to jump-start their development.
Rather than designing such minuscule machines from scratch, some scientists have been experimenting with the idea of enlisting the thousands of species of bacteria swarming inside our bodies. In recent years researchers have saddled microorganisms with useful nanoparticles and bits of DNA. Although the research is preliminary, some engineers and microbiologists see potential. This past March, at the American Chemical Society’s biannual National Meeting & Exposition in San Diego, biomolecular engineer David H. Gracias of Johns Hopkins University explained how he and his colleagues have decorated nonpathogenic Escherichia coli with tiny beads, rods and crescents made from nickel and tin coated in gold.