Scientists have forced the fungi to produce electricity
Scientists have forced the fungi to produce electricity
Scientists Create 'Bionic Mushroom' That Produces Electricity
10 November, 2018, 11:15
This team of researchers at the Stevens Institute of Technology comprised of Manu Mannoor, Sudeep Joshi and Ellexis Cook are now working on ways to generate higher currents through this system.
A robotic arm-based 3D printer was used to first print an "electronic ink", which contained graphene nanoribbons.
Clusters of energy-producing cyanobacteria were attached to a typical button mushroom using 3D-printing technology, alongside an electrode network to harness the power they produce. The artificial network acts as a junction for the electricity by accessing bio-electrons generated inside the cyanobacterial cells. This cyanobacteria creates electricity while graphene nanoribbons pull together the current.
A bionic mushroom. Image credit: Joshi et al, doi: 10.1021/acs.nanolett.8b02642.
The work, reported in Nano Letters, is part of a broader effort to understand and utilise the biological machinery of cells in order to fabricate new technologies.
"By integrating cyanobacteria that can produce electricity, with nanoscale materials capable of collecting the current, we were able to better access the unique properties of both, augment them, and create an entirely new functional bionic system".
Despite research projects examining how cyanobacteria could be used to make electricity, their use in power generation is limited by the fact that they cannot survive for long on artificial surfaces. So the scientists from the Stevens Institute of Technology in the U.S. developed a clever method of marrying the mushroom to the sparky bugs.Appropriately enough, they came up with the idea while having lunch!"One day my friends and I went to lunch together and we ordered some mushrooms", said Sudeep Joshi, a postdoctoral researcher and author of the study."As we discussed them we realised they have a rich microbiota of their own, so we thought why not use the mushrooms as a support for the cynaobacteria".
To solve this problem, scientist Sudeep Joshi decided that environment for the bacteria to become mushrooms. To take an advantage of these capabilities, they designed a synthetic relationship between microbes and a mushroom that can produce electricity. 3D printing allowed them to assemble the bacteria so as to boost their electricity-producing activity eight times more than cyanobacteria that was casted using a pipette.
"These are the next steps, to optimise the bio-currents, to generate moreelectricity, to power a small LED", he said.
It is noted that this approach can be combined mushrooms with different microbes: some of them will be able to Shine and others to produce fuel.
'By seamlessly integrating these microbes with nanomaterials, we could potentially realize many other awesome designer bio-hybrids for the environment, defense, healthcare and many other fields'.
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