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Title: Engineered Ureolytic Microorganisms Can Tailor the Morphology and Nanomechanical Properties of Microbial-Precipitated Calcium Carbonate

Abstract

We demonstrate for the first time that the morphology and nanomechanical properties of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) can be tailored by modulating the precipitation kinetics of ureolytic microorganisms through genetic engineering. Many engineering applications employ microorganisms to produce CaCO3. However, control over bacterial calcite morphology and material properties has not been demonstrated. We hypothesized that microorganisms genetically engineered for low urease activity would achieve larger calcite crystals with higher moduli. We compared precipitation kinetics, morphology, and nanomechanical properties for biogenic CaCO3 produced by two Escherichia coli (E. coli) strains that were engineered to display either high or low urease activity and the native producer Sporosarcina pasteurii. While all three microorganisms produced calcite, lower urease activity was associated with both slower initial calcium depletion rate and increased average calcite crystal size. Both calcite crystal size and nanoindentation moduli were also significantly higher for the low-urease activity E. coli compared with the high-urease activity E. coli. The relative resistance to inelastic deformation, measured via the ratio of nanoindentation hardness to modulus, was similar across microorganisms. These findings may enable design of novel advanced engineering materials where modulus is tailored to the application while resistance to irreversible deformation is not compromised.

Authors:
 [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [2]; ORCiD logo [1]; ORCiD logo [1]
  1. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States)
  2. Univ. of Colorado, Boulder, CO (United States); National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
U.S. Department of Defense (DOD), Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)
OSTI Identifier:
1572267
Report Number(s):
NREL/JA-2700-75264
Journal ID: ISSN 2045-2322
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 9; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2045-2322
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; genetic engineering; morphology; nanomechanics; calcium carbonate

Citation Formats

Heveran, Chelsea M., Liang, Liya, Nagarajan, Aparna, Hubler, Mija H., Gill, Ryan, Cameron, Jeffrey C., Cook, Sherri M., and Srubar, II, Wil V. Engineered Ureolytic Microorganisms Can Tailor the Morphology and Nanomechanical Properties of Microbial-Precipitated Calcium Carbonate. United States: N. p., 2019. Web. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-51133-9.
Heveran, Chelsea M., Liang, Liya, Nagarajan, Aparna, Hubler, Mija H., Gill, Ryan, Cameron, Jeffrey C., Cook, Sherri M., & Srubar, II, Wil V. Engineered Ureolytic Microorganisms Can Tailor the Morphology and Nanomechanical Properties of Microbial-Precipitated Calcium Carbonate. United States. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-51133-9.
Heveran, Chelsea M., Liang, Liya, Nagarajan, Aparna, Hubler, Mija H., Gill, Ryan, Cameron, Jeffrey C., Cook, Sherri M., and Srubar, II, Wil V. Fri . "Engineered Ureolytic Microorganisms Can Tailor the Morphology and Nanomechanical Properties of Microbial-Precipitated Calcium Carbonate". United States. doi:10.1038/s41598-019-51133-9. https://www.osti.gov/servlets/purl/1572267.
@article{osti_1572267,
title = {Engineered Ureolytic Microorganisms Can Tailor the Morphology and Nanomechanical Properties of Microbial-Precipitated Calcium Carbonate},
author = {Heveran, Chelsea M. and Liang, Liya and Nagarajan, Aparna and Hubler, Mija H. and Gill, Ryan and Cameron, Jeffrey C. and Cook, Sherri M. and Srubar, II, Wil V.},
abstractNote = {We demonstrate for the first time that the morphology and nanomechanical properties of calcium carbonate (CaCO3) can be tailored by modulating the precipitation kinetics of ureolytic microorganisms through genetic engineering. Many engineering applications employ microorganisms to produce CaCO3. However, control over bacterial calcite morphology and material properties has not been demonstrated. We hypothesized that microorganisms genetically engineered for low urease activity would achieve larger calcite crystals with higher moduli. We compared precipitation kinetics, morphology, and nanomechanical properties for biogenic CaCO3 produced by two Escherichia coli (E. coli) strains that were engineered to display either high or low urease activity and the native producer Sporosarcina pasteurii. While all three microorganisms produced calcite, lower urease activity was associated with both slower initial calcium depletion rate and increased average calcite crystal size. Both calcite crystal size and nanoindentation moduli were also significantly higher for the low-urease activity E. coli compared with the high-urease activity E. coli. The relative resistance to inelastic deformation, measured via the ratio of nanoindentation hardness to modulus, was similar across microorganisms. These findings may enable design of novel advanced engineering materials where modulus is tailored to the application while resistance to irreversible deformation is not compromised.},
doi = {10.1038/s41598-019-51133-9},
journal = {Scientific Reports},
number = 1,
volume = 9,
place = {United States},
year = {2019},
month = {10}
}

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