Production of Squid Protein Bioplastics Using 3d Printer

Open Access
Tucker, Andrew Blake
Area of Honors:
Engineering Science
Bachelor of Science
Document Type:
Thesis Supervisors:
  • Melik C Demirel, Thesis Supervisor
  • Melik C Demirel, Honors Advisor
  • Reginald Felix Hamilton, Faculty Reader
  • 3D printing
  • bioprinting
  • squid
  • sucker ring teeth
  • SRT
  • plastic
  • plastic alternatives
Plastic pollution is becoming epidemic that is getting more and more difficult to ignore. Each year, Americans discard more than 30 million tons of plastic, only 8% of which gets recycled. It is time to find an alternative that will significantly reduce the plastic footprint humans are leaving on the Earth. With their natural origins, squid sucker ring teeth (SRT) proteins are highly biodegradable in comparison to their traditional plastic counterparts. This, along with their high mechanical strength and biocompatibility, makes them an attractive plastic alternative. These proteins are thermoplastic and moldable into any geometry by thermal processing techniques. However, the need for these shaping techniques greatly limits the applications of these proteins. In this study, squid SRT proteins were formed into a gel that is moldable at room temperatures and was subsequently 3D printed into a scaffold. The formation of this gel opens a number of potential applications for these SRT proteins, and the 3D printing of this protein based biocompatible scaffold shows potential for these SRT proteins as advanced materials in medicine. This is the first time that a thermoplastic protein has been bio-printed at room temperature.