Feedback and Communication in Active Hydrogel Spheres with pH Fronts: Facile Approaches to Grow Soft

Read the full article here: Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 60, (2021)

by I. Maity, C. Sharma, F. Lossada and A. Walther



Compartmentalized reaction networks regulatingsignal processing, communication and pattern formation arecentral to living systems. Towards achieving life-like materials,we compartmentalized urea-urease and more complex urea-urease/ester-esterase pH-feedback reaction networks into hy-drogel spheres and investigate how fuel-driven pH fronts canbe sent out from these spheres and regulated by internalreaction networks. Membrane characteristics are installed bycovering urease spheres with responsive hydrogel shells. Wethen encapsulate the two networks (urea-urease and ester-esterase) separately into different hydrogel spheres to devisecommunication, pattern formation and attraction. Moreover,these pH fronts and patterns can be used for self-growinghydrogels, and for developing complex geometries from non-injectable hydrogels without 3D printing tools. This studyopens possibilities for compartmentalized feedback reactionsand their use in next generation materials fabrication.

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