Materials Science

Acceleration of Lipid Reproduction by Emergence of Microscopic Motion

Nathalie Katsonis University of Groningen, Stratingh Institute for Chemistry

Abstract

Self-reproducing chemical systems are essential for organic matter to reproduce, move and grow. In artificial settings, chemical reactions can show rich dynamics and auto-catalytic characteristics, however achieving higher order functionality from self-reproducing chemical systems remains a current challenge. Here, we show that self-reproducing lipids can initiate, sustain and accelerate the movement of microscopic oil droplets in water and, in return, the chemotactic movement of these droplets significantly accelerates the autocatalytic production of the lipids. As droplet motion accelerates the chemical reaction through active chemotactic movement, a reciprocal, two-way interplay is established across length scales, between bond-forming chemistry at the molecular scale, and droplet motility at the near macroscopic level. This chemo-motile coupling between the self-reproducing chemistry of lipids and the microscopic movement of droplets offers new means of performing work and catalysis in micro-heterogeneous environments.


Content

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Supplementary material

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Supporting Information
Thumbnail image of Movie 1- Motion of an octanol droplet.mp4
download asset Movie 1- Motion of an octanol droplet.mp4 1 MB [opens in a new tab]
Movie 1- Motion of an octanol droplet
Thumbnail image of Movie 2 - Lag phase of a droplet before motility.mp4
download asset Movie 2 - Lag phase of a droplet before motility.mp4 6 MB [opens in a new tab]
Movie 2 - Lag phase of a droplet before motility
Thumbnail image of Movie 3 - Microfluidic production of octanol droplets.mp4
download asset Movie 3 - Microfluidic production of octanol droplets.mp4 3 MB [opens in a new tab]
Movie 3 - Microfluidic production of octanol droplets
Thumbnail image of Movie 4 - Chemotactic motion of droplets.mp4
download asset Movie 4 - Chemotactic motion of droplets.mp4 4 MB [opens in a new tab]
Movie 4 - Chemotactic motion of droplets
Thumbnail image of Movie 5 - Motiliy of a fluorescently dyed octanol droplet.mp4
download asset Movie 5 - Motiliy of a fluorescently dyed octanol droplet.mp4 8 MB [opens in a new tab]
Movie 5 - Motiliy of a fluorescently dyed octanol droplet