Scientists create 'bionic mushroom' that can power an LED bulb


Scientists have created a "bionic mushroom" that can produce electricity - and this powerful fungi could be used to juice up devices and other equipment in the future.

"In this case, our system - this bionic mushroom - produces electricity", said Professor Manu Mannoor, an engineer at Stevens Institute of Technology who led the research.

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. Then the scientist Sudeep Joshi suggested that the environment for the bacteria to become mushrooms. Similarly, mushrooms thrive off each other in self-contained groups capable of communicating and sharing resources. Now, a team of U.S. researchers say they've found a way to make environmentally friendly energy using bionic mushrooms covered in bacteria. When they shined a light on the mushroom, it activated cyanobacterial photosynthesis and produced a photocurrent. They used a robotic arm-based 3D printer to print an "electronic ink" with the graphene nanoribbons and printed a "bio-ink" containing cyanobacteria onto the mushroom's cap in a spiral pattern.

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.

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. Manoor says this network of nanoribbons is akin to "needles sticking into a single cell to access electrical signals inside it". And this will solve the problem, which is not allowed to use them to generate electricity, reports Around the world. 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.

In addition to the cyanobacteria living longer in a state of engineered symbiosis, Mannoor and Joshi 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.

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