Scientists at the Stevens Institute of Technology, New Jersey, 3D have printed what they are calling a "bionic mushroom" capable of generating electricity.
Revealed in a study published in Nano Letters The newspaper, the team demonstrated how the skills of various biological species are combined for innovative applications.
Sudeep Joshi, co-author of Stevens' role and post-doctorate, said: "We show for the first time that a hybrid system can incorporate an artificial collaboration or symbiosis generated between two different microbiological kingdoms."
Bioelectricity through photosynthesis
Cyanobacteria are one of the largest bacteria in the world. These microorganisms produce energy through photosynthesis and the capacity found by the scientist can be transferred to other biological species in the plant kingdom.
Previous studies performed on the survival of cyanobacteria on artificial surfaces showed poor results. Therefore, for this study, the researchers chose to use white mushrooms as a substrate.
Although mushrooms lack the ability of photosynthesis, their structure can support cyanobacterial colonies within their cape or "pileus". Manu Manor, co-author of the work and auxiliary professor of Mechanical Engineering at Stevens, explains: "By integrating cyanobacteria that can produce electricity, with nanoscale materials capable of collecting current, we were able to improve access to the unique properties of both, increase them and create a completely new biological functional system ".
Using a 3D printer, white mushrooms were colonized with cyanobacteria, producing a bionic mushroom capable of photosynthetic bioelectric generation.
Bionic mushroom bioimpulsion
The inks used to make this photosynthesis of mushrooms are made respectively from nanoributenes of graphene (GNR) and cyanobacterial cells. Both inks were printed in 3D on the mushroom pileo using a modified robot F5200N.1 Compact Gantry Benchtop, by Fisnar, a manufacturer based in Wisconsin of fluid distribution technologies.
In the first step, a network of GNR electrodes was printed in 3D in a sequence of Fibonacci in the mushroom umbrella. Second, upon the pattern of electrodes, the cells of cyanobacteria were printed in 3D in a spiral pattern.
Exposure of the mushroom to the active light to cyanobatteric photosynthesis. The GNR electrode network that is printed below cyanobacteria collects the electricity generated by cyanobacterial cells and generates a photocurrent.
As stated in the newspaper's conclusion, "The 3D printed biotic mushroom architecture currently developed is an ecological and ecological source of photosynthetic bioelectricity with an advanced functionality to nourish the energy-producing cyanobacteria."
"We believe that the techniques developed in current research can also be extended to 3D to print other bacterial colonies with intelligent hydrogel materials to advance in bionic integration studies."
The research discussed in this article is entitled, Nanobionic bacterial through 3D printing. It was published in the journal Nano Letters and co-author of Sudeep Joshi, Ellexis Cook and Manu S. Mannoor.
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The highlighted image shows a bionic white mushroom. Image by Nano Letters.