Tough Hydrogel-based Capsules for Multilayered, Tunable Containment of Engineered Organisms
The containment of genetically modified microorganisms (GMMs) is a major bottleneck for achieving the promise of biotechnologies in the environment. While biological strategies have been implemented to restrict the growth and replication of GMMs, there is a need for deployable physical containment technologies to achieve redundant, multi-layered, and robust containment. To address this challenge, we developed a hydrogel-based encapsulation system for GMMs that incorporates a biocompatible multilayer tough shell and an alginate-based core. This DEployable Physical COntainment Strategy (DEPCOS) allows no detectable GMM escape, samples to be easily retrieved, bacteria to be protected against environmental insults including antibiotics and low pH, and the lifespan of genetically recoded bacteria to be controlled.