Bionic mushroom uses bacteria and graphene to generate electricity

09 November, 2018, 20:29 | Author: Darnell Taylor
  • Cyanobacteria cells produce electricity as a result

This cyanobacteria creates electricity while graphene nanoribbons pull together the current.

But the experiment demonstrated how it is possible to generate electricity biological origin.

The entire project started thanks to the researchers' love of mushrooms. 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".

Experts used regular mushrooms bought in a supermarket and covered them with belts.

From fields to sauteeing pans, button mushrooms are incredibly common.

We're entering a new era of alternative energy, one where scientists find new sources of power in unlikely places - like liquid sunlight or human urine.

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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. However, researchers have been limited in using these microbes in bioengineered systems because cyanobacteria do not survive long on artificial bio-compatible surfaces. Now, a team of USA researchers say they've found a way to make environmentally friendly energy using bionic mushrooms covered in bacteria. "We showed for the first time that a hybrid system can incorporate an artificial collaboration, or engineered symbiosis, between two different microbiological kingdoms". For this they used certain bacteria and graphene nanoribbon, which extend from the cap to the stem.

This served as an electricity-collecting network on the mushroom's cap which acting like a nano-probe and accessed bio-electrons generated inside the cyanobacterial cells.

"As I mentioned, bacteria possess many other properties beside the electricity production", Mannoor said. This bio-ink was printed in a spiral pattern that intersected with the electronic ink of the nanoribbons. At the places where the cyanobacteria connected with the graphene, the electron transfer would take place. They manipulated the cyanobacteria to generate electricity for days by attaching it on top of a button mushroom.

"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.

And it doesn't just stop with mushrooms. "For example, some bacteria can glow, while others sense toxins or produce fuel. By seamlessly integrating these microbes with nanomaterials, we could potentially realise many other incredible designer bio-hybrids for the environment, defence, healthcare and many other fields".

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