Thursday, 23 May, 2019

Researchers Create Mushrooms that are Able to Generate Electricity

Research: 'Bionic mushrooms' fuse nanotech, bacteria and fungi Scientists create 'bionic mushroom' that can power an LED bulb
Sandy Nunez | 09 November, 2018, 20:32

To harvest that photosynthetic power, scientists have synthetically engineered a mutualistic relationship between microbes and a host mushroom in order to produce electricity.

United States researchers have successfully tested the rather whacky idea of producing electricity from a mushroom covered in bacteria.The scientists used 3D printing to attach clusters of energy-producing bugs to the cap of a button mushroom.The fungus provided the ideal environment to allow the cyanobacteria to generate a small amount of power.The authors say their fossil-free "bionic mushroom" could have great potential.As researchers the world over search for alternative energy sources, there has been a sharp rise in interest in cyanobacteria.These organisms, widely found in the oceans and on land, are being investigated for their abilities to turn sunlight into electrical current.

Technology has not yet been possible to generate enough electricity to power even the smallest device.

They then printed a bio-ink containing cyanobacteria onto the cap in a spiral pattern, which intersected with the electronic ink at multiple points.

"In this case, our system - this bionic mushroom - produces electricity", said Manu Mannoor, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Stevens. "As we discussed them", said Sudeep Joshi, the author of the new study, "we realised they have a rich microbiota of their own, so we thought why not use the mushrooms as a support for the cyanobacteria". Experts explain the events that light activated the mechanism of photosynthesis, which creates the electrons of biological origin.

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Using a 3D printer, scientists decorated the mushroom cap with two inks, one composed of graphene nanoribbons and the other made of cyanobacteria cells.

The team says they are working on ways to generate higher currents across complex arrangements of bacterial species and perhaps expanding to use other varieties of "useful" bacteria that exhibit unique properties such as bioluminescence and virulence. The graphene nanoribbons acted like nano-probes that access the bio-electrons from the cyanobacterial cells.

Cyanobacteria are also known among bio-engineers for their ability to generate small jolts of electricity, making them attractive prospects for energy generation. An electrode network of graphene nanoribbons was used to collect the current.

Additionally, both researchers discovered that the amount of electricity produced can vary depending on how cyanobacteria are packed together.

"With this work, we can imagine enormous opportunities for next-generation bio-hybrid applications. By seamlessly integrating these microbes with nanomaterials, we could potentially realise many other awesome designer bio-hybrids for the environment, defence, healthcare and many other fields".