Flexible material formulations for 3D printing of porous beds with
applications in bioprocess engineering
3D printing is revolutionizing many industrial sectors and has the
potential to enhance also the biotechnology and bioprocessing fields.
Here, we propose a new flexible material formulation to 3D print support
matrices with complex, perfectly ordered morphology and with tuneable
properties to suit a range of applications in bioprocess engineering.
Supports for packed-bed operations were fabricated using functional
monomers as the key ingredients, enabling matrices with bespoke
chemistry such as charged groups, chemical moieties for further
functionalization, and hydrophobic/hydrophilic groups. Other
ingredients, e.g. crosslinkers and porogens, provide the opportunity to
further tune the mechanical properties of the supports and the
morphology of their porous network. Through this approach, we fabricated
and demonstrated the operation of Schoen gyroid columns with I) positive
and negative charges for ion-exchange chromatography, II) enzyme
bioreactors with immobilized trypsin to catalyse hydrolysis, and III)
bacterial biofilms bioreactors for fuel desulfurization. We expect this
approach will enable simple, cost-effective and flexible fabrication of
customized supports in biotechnology and bioengineering.