Period: 1.1.2020 – 31.12.2021
Prof. Dr. Johannes Kabisch |
Dept. Biology| computational synthetic biology
Dr.-Ing. Dieter Spiehl |
Dept. Mechanical Engineering | Institute for Printing Machines and Printing Processes
Part labeling is a crucial security feature as it can prevent product counterfeiting. DNA, the information carrier of life, is started to be explored as an engineered information molecule with immense potential in respect to information density and encryption potential. Most research in this direction is concerned with how to encode binary data to DNA and read the stored information from this DNA. Little to no effort is made on how to apply DNA and the information stored within as an identification label for security. In this study, we explore DNA in various printing processes for its suitability as an anti‐counterfeiting and identification tag. DNA is sensitive to environmental influences, which is why we compare the suitability of free DNA against using the spores of the bacterium Bacillus subtilis as a naturally evolved DNA protective shell and a cheap way for mass production of DNA. To integrate these two different variants into products, we use both conventional printing methods and additive manufacturing processes. We investigate the stresses on the spores, derive suitable printing techniques and assess the practical application ‐ processing, extraction and subsequent detection via PCR ‐ using selected printing methods. The stresses are differentiated into four groups ‐ solvents, UV irradiation, temperature and shear stress. with a significant advantage of DNA protected in spores only for selected solvents. However, in actual printing processes stresses are combined and thus we test two exemplary and complementary methods. Namely gravure printing as a 2D and masked stereolithography as a 3D printing method. The combination of even low stresses in gravure printing of water-based inks makes it impossible to detect free DNA via PCR whereas a detection of the DNA protected in spores is possible. In addition, a solvent based gravure printing ink is tested and the selected 3D printing method produces a solid part out of UV-curable resin. From all three examples, the extraction of a sample and subsequently the detection of the DNA from the spores could be archieved. Hence, we were able to show that the production of a robust DNA‐based counterfeit protection and product integration is possible with industrial 2D and 3D printing processes.