Scientists Create 'Bionic Mushroom' That Can Generate Electricity

Densely packed cyanobacteria

Densely packed cyanobacteria

At these sites, electrons could transfer through the outer membranes of the bacteria 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, sci-news.com reports. Now, a team of United States researchers say they've found a way to make environmentally friendly energy using bionic mushrooms covered in bacteria.

"Although this current is insufficient to power an electronic device, an array of bionic mushrooms could generate enough current to light up an LED", the study authors said.

'In this case, our system-this bionic mushroom-produces electricity, ' said Manu Mannoor, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey, US. Thus, Joshi and his colleagues Packed cyanobacteria of the genus Anabaena in special nanoparticles and resettle them on the surface of the artificial mushrooms.

Cyanobacteria, which is common on land and oceans, have always been known to produce electricity.

The electricity was produced by using 3D printing to place clusters of cyanobacteria, which derives its energy from the sun, on the mushroom.

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The mushrooms essentially serve as a suitable environmental substrate with advanced functionality of nourishing the energy producing cyanobacteria.

They then created a bio-ink with the cyanobacteria that sat atop the mushroom cap in a spiral pattern. "We showed for the first time that a hybrid system can incorporate an artificial collaboration, or engineered symbiosis, between two different microbiological kingdoms". "Light on the mushrooms activates the photosynthesis process of the cyanobacteria, which are generated by the biological origin of the electrons", explained Joshi. The team used a 3D printer with a robotic arm to print the electronic ink that contains the necessary graphene nanoribbons, which they placed them on top of the mushroom cap.

Their study published in Nano Letters, a peer-reviewed journal from the American Chemical Society, found properties within the mushroom allowed the cyanobacteria to survive longer while generating electricity.

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

The researchers showed that the amount of electricity the bacteria produce can vary depending on the density and alignment with which they are packed - the more densely packed together they are, the more electricity they produce.

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

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