Three-Dimensional Printable Enzymatically Active Plastics

William H. Zhang, Graham J. Day, Ioannis Zampetakis, Michele Carrabba, Zhongyang Zhang, Ben M. Carter, Norman Govan, Colin Jackson, Menglin Chen, Adam W. Perriman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journal/Conference contribution in journal/Contribution to newspaperJournal articleResearchpeer-review

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Here, we describe a facile route to the synthesis of enzymatically active highly fabricable plastics, where the enzyme is an intrinsic component of the material. This is facilitated by the formation of an electrostatically stabilized enzyme-polymer surfactant nanoconstruct, which, after lyophilization and melting, affords stable macromolecular dispersions in a wide range of organic solvents. A selection of plastics can then be co-dissolved in the dispersions, which provides a route to bespoke 3D enzyme plastic nanocomposite structures using a wide range of fabrication techniques, including melt electrowriting, casting, and piston-driven 3D printing. The resulting constructs comprising active phosphotriesterase (arPTE) readily detoxify organophosphates with persistent activity over repeated cycles and for long time periods. Moreover, we show that the protein guest molecules, such as arPTE or sfGFP, increase the compressive Young's modulus of the plastics and that the identity of the biomolecule influences the nanomorphology and mechanical properties of the resulting materials. Overall, we demonstrate that these biologically active nanocomposite plastics are compatible with state-of-the-art 3D fabrication techniques and that the methodology could be readily applied to produce robust and on-demand smart nanomaterial structures.

Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Applied Polymer Materials
Pages (from-to)6070-6077
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • 3D printing
  • enzyme
  • functional bionanomaterials
  • melt electrowriting
  • nanocomposite
  • nanoconjugate
  • nanomorphology


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