Researchers from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) have grown artificial wood from plant cells in the laboratory. They didn’t have to cut down a single tree.
In the fight against climate change, deforestation plays a particularly important role. Because every day, huge areas of forest that could actually protect us from storms, heat waves or periods of drought are disappearing worldwide. Deforestation often occurs as a result of demand for paper, latex, or meat and soy products.
Wouldn’t it be practical if the necessary raw materials could be produced directly in the laboratory? Researchers at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) apparently thought so too and quickly developed an artificial wood. The material can be printed out in the laboratory and has properties similar to natural wood.
Artificial wood from the 3D printer
The scientists thus published one of the most interesting projects of the year. Because since the beginning of human civilization, around 46 percent of all forest areas on the planet have already disappeared.
With the new approach, shapes of any size can now be printed out on wooden structures. Plant cells called “Zinnia elegans” form the basis for this. The researchers grew these in the laboratory and modified them on the basis of various liquids and gels.
The end result: a paste that a 3D printer can shape into any shape you like. Depending on the concentration of the hormones added, an artificial wood with different strength and stability is created.
Researchers grow different types of wood
This has several advantages. Because if industry needs furniture, for example, a table, a bench or a chair can be created from the mass. The material does not come from nature, but from the laboratory.
The team plans to grow special types of wood from the cells in the future. In this way, for example, pine wood that looks real is created. Depending on personal preferences, a sustainable living room can be set up. Maybe then the massive deforestation will belong to a dark, no longer existing past.