A soil-inspired dynamically responsive chemical system for microbial modulation. Academic Article uri icon


  • Interactions between the microbiota and their colonized environments mediate critical pathways from biogeochemical cycles to homeostasis in human health. Here we report a soil-inspired chemical system that consists of nanostructured minerals, starch granules and liquid metals. Fabricated via a bottom-up synthesis, the soil-inspired chemical system can enable chemical redistribution and modulation of microbial communities. We characterize the composite, confirming its structural similarity to the soil, with three-dimensional X-ray fluorescence and ptychographic tomography and electron microscopy imaging. We also demonstrate that post-synthetic modifications formed by laser irradiation led to chemical heterogeneities from the atomic to the macroscopic level. The soil-inspired material possesses chemical, optical and mechanical responsiveness to yield write-erase functions in electrical performance. The composite can also enhance microbial culture/biofilm growth and biofuel production in vitro. Finally, we show that the soil-inspired system enriches gut bacteria diversity, rectifies tetracycline-induced gut microbiome dysbiosis and ameliorates dextran sulfate sodium-induced rodent colitis symptoms within in vivo rodent models.

published proceedings

  • Nat Chem

altmetric score

  • 80.76

author list (cited authors)

  • Lin, Y., Gao, X., Yue, J., Fang, Y., Shi, J., Meng, L., ... Tian, B.

citation count

  • 4

complete list of authors

  • Lin, Yiliang||Gao, Xiang||Yue, Jiping||Fang, Yin||Shi, Jiuyun||Meng, Lingyuan||Clayton, Clementene||Zhang, Xin-Xing||Shi, Fengyuan||Deng, Junjing||Chen, Si||Jiang, Yi||Marin, Fabricio||Hu, Jingtian||Tsai, Hsiu-Ming||Tu, Qing||Roth, Eric W||Bleher, Reiner||Chen, Xinqi||Griffin, Philip||Cai, Zhonghou||Prominski, Aleksander||Odom, Teri W||Tian, Bozhi

publication date

  • January 2023