Scientists have found a new way of generating electricity

Research: 'Bionic mushrooms' fuse nanotech, bacteria and fungi

White button mushrooms have been transformed into "bionic" fungi capable of producing eco-friendly electricity with the help of some bacteria and nanotechnology plays a vital role.

Stevens Institute of Technology researchers Manu Mannoor, Sudeep Joshi and Ellexis Cook set out to engineer an artificial symbiosis between button mushrooms and cyanobacteria.

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

"We are looking to connect all the mushrooms in series, in an array, and we are also looking to pack more bacteria together", Sudeep Joshi was quoted as saying by BBC.

Traditionally mushrooms thrive in rich groups were they can share resources.

Shining a light on the mushrooms activates cyanobacterial photosynthesis mechanism, which generates bio-electrons these electrons are driven under an applied bias voltage in an electrochemical setup. Now, a team of U.S. researchers say they've found a way to make environmentally friendly energy using bionic mushrooms covered in bacteria.

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He added, "We showed for the first time that a hybrid system can incorporate an artificial collaboration, or engineered symbiosis, between two different microbiological kingdoms", reports Newsweek.

As for collecting the current, the team used a robotic arm doubling as a 3D-printer to create what they call an "electronic ink" made of graphene nanoribbons-tiny strips of graphene seen as alternatives to silicon semiconductors.

Regular grocery store white mushrooms could become future electricity generators, according to a new process.

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. Lab tests proved a white button mushroom cap offered the proper nutrients, moisture, pH and temperature to preserve cyanobacteria cells. An electrode network of graphene nanoribbons was used to collect the current.

The amount of electricity generated by the "bionic mushroom" varies depending on the density and alignment with which the bacteria is packed, the authors reported in the journal Nano Letters. The more densely packed the bacteria, the more energy it could produce.

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

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