Scientists Create 'Bionic Mushroom' That Can Generate Electricity

Rodiano Bonacci
Novembre 9, 2018

Now scientists from New Jersey's Stevens Institute of Technology have discovered a new source of electricity that grows in the ground (and goes great with a salad): classic white button mushrooms. "These are the next steps, to optimise the bio-currents, to generate more electricity, to power a small LED".

They then created a bio-ink with the cyanobacteria that sat atop the mushroom cap in a spiral pattern.

"Right now we are using cyanobacteria from the pond, but you can genetically engineer them and you can change their molecules to produce higher photo currents, via photosynthesis", said Sudeep Joshi. Even more common than the mushrooms are the cyanobacteria that can thrive on the mushrooms.

However, the newest discovery - nicknamed "bionic mushrooms" - sounds more like something sold on the California black market than an energy solution. "We showed for the first time that a hybrid system can incorporate an artificial collaboration, or engineered symbiosis, between two different microbiological kingdoms".

To collect the electricity, the researchers 3-D printed an "electronic ink" made up of graphene nanoribbons that form a branched network.

The pair used a 3D printer to create graphene nanoribbons that would cover the top of the mushroom. Lab tests proved a white button mushroom cap offered the proper nutrients, moisture, pH and temperature to preserve cyanobacteria cells. In order to capture the energy superconductive graphene nanoribbons were also printed in a particular pattern that crossed path with bacteria, capturing the electrons that were released on the surface of the bacteria layers.

"Light on the mushrooms activates the photosynthesis process of the cyanobacteria, which are generated by the biological origin of the electrons", explained Joshi.

In addition to the cyanobacteria living longer in a state of engineered symbiosis, researchers showed that the amount of electricity these bacteria produce can vary depending on the density and alignment with which they are packed, such that the more densely packed together they are, the more electricity they produce. And this will solve the problem, which is not allowed to use them to generate electricity, reports Around the world.

Dr Mannoor said: "By seamlessly integrating these microbes with nanomaterials, we could potentially realize many other incredible designer bio-hybrids for the environment, defense, healthcare and many other fields".

'For example, some bacteria can glow, while others sense toxins or produce fuel. "By seamlessly integrating these microbes with nanomaterials, we could potentially realize many other incredible designer bio-hybrids for the environment, defense, healthcare and many other fields".

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