Science & Technology
'Bionic mushroom' could power your phone
November 7, 2018 | 4 comments
Could mushrooms power the devices of the future ? Image Credit: CC BY 2.0 wonderferret
Scientists have converted a regular shop-bought mushroom in to a device that can produce electricity.
The research, which aimed to further advance our understanding of how biology and technology can work together, involved combining a regular mushroom with electricity-producing bacteria and using strands of graphene to collect the current.
When a light was turned on, it triggered photosynthesis within the bacteria which in turn generated a small amount of electricity. The mushroom itself helped the bacteria to grow and stay alive.
"In this case, our system - this bionic mushroom - produces electricity," said study leader Professor Manu Mannoor from the Stevens Institute of Technology in New Jersey.
"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."
While the amount of electricity produced is currently very small, scientists hope that future iterations of this concept will open the door to whole new fields of research.
"With this work, we can imagine enormous opportunities for next-generation bio-hybrid applications," said Prof Mannoor. "For example, some bacteria can glow, while others sense toxins or produce fuel."
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