The good news: It is already possible to manufacture wood in the laboratory, no need to cut down forests for timber

Tram Ho

According to New Atlas, the team at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) is in the process of working on how to build wood in the lab.

First, experts extracted living cells from the leaves of the Zinnia plant. These living cells are placed in a liquid culture solvent – allowing them to continue to multiply. The plots obtained from the above process are then transferred to a 3D matrix gel, where they continue the development process.

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Process of making wood from the laboratory

The addition of the plant hormones auxin and cytokinin activates the living cells to produce lignin, an organic polymer that gives the wood firmness. This process allows scientists to develop a small and hard structure like wood, in the shape of a 3D matrix gel.

In addition, by altering the levels of the two hormones, the team was able to control the amount of lignin the cells make, which in turn allows the structural characteristics of the artificial wood to be adjusted.

Although the experiments conducted so far are still quite small, scientists hope that the technology could one day allow wooden products such as furniture to be “planted”. when needed. This means that we will not have to do deforestation to harvest timber.

Researchers are currently looking at the feasibility of scaling the artificial wood-making process for practical application. However, there are still many factors that need to be considered.

“One question waiting to be answered is: How do we convert the process of making artificial wood from chrysanthemum to other plants?”, Said Dr. Luis Fernando Velásquez-García, who is supervising study said.

“It is too early to think that we can use the same fabrication process for each plant. Maybe they will have a different fabrication.”

The research has just been published on January 20 in the Journal of Cleaner Production.

Refer to the New Atlas

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Source : Genk