Scientists have found a new way of generating electricity

Densely packed cyanobacteria

At these locations, electrons could transfer through the outer membranes of the cyanobacteria to the conductive network of graphene nanoribbons.

"Our 3D-printing approach could be used to organize other bacterial species in complex arrangements to perform useful functions, such as bioluminescence", they said.

A regular shop-bought mushroom has been turned into an electricity generator in a process scientists hope will one day be used to power devices, writes the Independent.

And they believe an array of these bionic mushrooms, could generate enough electricity to light up an LED.

For their study, Manu Mannoor, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at the institute, and postdoctorate fellow Sudeep Joshi tried a button mushroom. Even more common than the mushrooms are the cyanobacteria that can thrive on the mushrooms.

Cyanobacteria are known among bio-engineers for their ability to generate small jolts of electricity, but until now it has been hard to keep them alive in artificial conditions.

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Ordinary white button mushrooms have been transformed into "bionic" fungi capable of producing eco-friendly electricity with a little help from some bacteria and nanotechnology.

The authors say their fossil-free "bionic mushroom" could have great potential.

The mushrooms essentially serve as a suitable environmental substrate with advanced functionality of nourishing the energy producing cyanobacteria. "We showed for the first time that a hybrid system can incorporate an artificial collaboration, or engineered symbiosis, between two different microbiological kingdoms". It was like a needle sticking into the cyanobacteria cells to find its electrical signals, Mannoor said.

They also printed a spiral pattern using bio-ink that contain cyanobacteria on the cap of the mushroom.

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. The more densely packed the bacteria, the more electricity they produce, which is where 3-D printing came in handy. When in "self-serving biophysical conditions", the mushroom can provide shelter, moisture and nutrients to the bacteria, which then produce energy through chlorophyll cells. The cyanobacteria could play a massive role in powering other applications as a green solution.

Dr Mannoor said: "By seamlessly integrating these microbes with nanomaterials, we could potentially realize many other unbelievable 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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