Scientists, including those of Indian origin, have created a bionic device that generates green energy through clusters of cyanobacteria printed in 3D on an ordinary white button mushroom.
The research by the Stevens Institute of Technology in the U.S. is part of a broader effort to improve understanding of cell biology equipment and its use for the production of new technologies and systems useful for defense, health and the environment.
Researchers took a regular white mushroom toy from a grocery store and made it bionic, overloading it with clusters of cyanobacteria that generate electricity and grapple nano-fibers that can collect the current.
"In this case, our system – this bionic fungus – produces electrical energy," said Manu Mannoor, assistant professor at Stevens.
"By integrating cyanobacteria that can produce electrical energy with nanomaterials capable of collecting the current, we have managed to better access their unique properties, enhance them and create a completely new functional bionic system," he said.
The ability of cyanobacteria to produce electrical energy is well known. However, researchers have been limited in the use of these microbes in bioengineered systems because cyanobacteria do not survive much on bio-compatible artificial surfaces.
"We first showed that a hybrid system can incorporate artificial collaboration or an engineering symbiosis between two different microbiological regiments," said Sudeep Joshi, a postdoctoral fellow.
"With this work, we can imagine enormous opportunities for future-generation bio-hybrid applications," Mannoor said.