Bionic mushroom uses bacteria and graphene to generate electricity

Stevens Institute of Technology

Stevens Institute of Technology

At these locations, electrons could transfer through the outer membranes of the cyanobacteria to the conductive network of graphene nanoribbons.

"Our 3D-printing approach could be used to organize other bacterial species in complex arrangements to perform useful functions, such as bioluminescence", said the researchers, reports. The bionic mushroom they created could be used as another environmentally-friendly source of energy, according to IFL Science. While one button bionic mushroom won't make a massive dent, the team is now working on a way to link them together to provide more power.

A team of scientists, which includedtwo Indian-origin scientists, at Stevens Institute of Technology of New Jersey in the U.S. have successfully generated a small amount of electricity from the humble white button mushroom.

What do you get when you 3-D print cyanobacteria onto button mushrooms?

Cyanobacteria's ability to produce electricity is well known in bioengineering circles.

Scientists have created a bionic fungus, which generates electricity.

The fresh White Button Mushroom from the shop is carefully selected and it is made bionic and supercharged with clusters of cyanobacteria.

During the experiment, Mannoor and colleagues found that cyanobacterial cells lasted several days on the cap of a white button mushroom. Mannoor and postdoctoral fellow Sudeep Joshi came up with the idea of using mushrooms because they naturally host a complex microbiota and could potentially provide the nutrients, moisture, pH and temperature necessary for the cyanobacteria to survive and produce electricity.

"We are looking to connect all the mushrooms in series, in an array, and we are also looking to pack more bacteria together", Sudeep Joshi was quoted as saying by BBC. They say their research shows the possibilities of "engineered symbiosis" between organisms and nonliving materials, which they characterize as different worlds. It was like a needle sticking into the cyanobacteria cells to find its electrical signals, Mannoor said. They then printed a bio-ink containing the cyanobacteria onto the mushroom's cap in a spiral pattern intersecting with the electronic ink at multiple points.

Shining a light on the mushrooms activates cyanobacterial photosynthesis mechanism, which generates bio-electrons these electrons are driven under an applied bias voltage in an electrochemical setup.

In a statement, Mannoor said the study could pave the way for larger opportunities involving bio-electricity.

'By seamlessly integrating these microbes with nanomaterials, we could potentially realize many other unbelievable designer bio-hybrids for the environment, defense, healthcare and many other fields'.

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