Jump to content

- - - - -

'Bionic mushrooms' fuse nanotech, bacteria and fungi

  • Please log in to reply
1 reply to this topic

#1 TVCasualty


    Embrace Your Damage

  • OG VIP
  • 10,867 posts

Awards Bar:

Posted 08 November 2018 - 11:06 AM

Well this is interesting, and looks pretty cool, like something Tesla would build. Come to think of it, the bionic mushroom looks a whole lot like Tesla's lab. Probably just a coincidence...


From Science Daily:

November 7, 2018


In their latest feat of engineering, researchers at Stevens Institute of Technology have taken an ordinary white button mushroom from a grocery store and made it bionic, supercharging it with 3D-printed clusters of cyanobacteria that generate electricity and swirls of graphene nanoribbons that can collect the current.



"In this case, our system -- this bionic mushroom -- produces electricity," said Manu Mannoor, an assistant professor of mechanical engineering at Stevens. "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."


Mannoor and Joshi showed that the cyanobacterial cells lasted several days longer when placed on the cap of a white button mushroom versus a silicone and dead mushroom as suitable controls. "The mushrooms essentially serve as a suitable environmental substrate with advanced functionality of nourishing the energy producing cyanobacteria," says Joshi. "We showed for the first time that a hybrid system can incorporate an artificial collaboration, or engineered symbiosis, between two different microbiological kingdoms."


This printed branched network serves as an electricity-collecting network atop the mushroom's cap by acting like a nano-probe -- to access bio-electrons generated inside the cyanobacterial cells. Imagine needles sticking into a single cell to access electrical signals inside it, explains Mannoor.


Next, they printed a" bio-ink" containing cyanobacteria onto the mushroom's cap in a spiral pattern intersecting with the electronic ink at multiple contact points. At these locations, electrons could transfer through the outer membranes of the cyanobacteria to the conductive network of graphene nanoribbons. Shining a light on the mushrooms activated cyanobacterial photosynthesis, generating a photocurrent.





"Engineered symbiosis" is a fascinating concept, and one that I imagine can spawn a whole new genre of dystopian science fiction, lol. And maybe some good (or at least useful) stuff, too.

#2 425nm



  • OG VIP
  • 446 posts

Posted 08 November 2018 - 04:46 PM

So a friend sent me this paper because they want to try and replicate it or do something similar. I just sat down and read the thing. What they've done is neat and quite creative but they are way way way over selling what they have done. Or maybe just incorrectly selling.

They've printed cyanobacteria on top of a mushroom and used graphene nanoribbons as electrodes to make a photovoltaic circuit which is rad as shit. It is a clever coupling of natural and non-natural materials but it is a stretch to call it a symbiosis.

I could grow cyanobacteria on a brick or piece of pumice soaked in alga-gro and it would be no more a symbiosis than what they are claiming.


It is entirely possible that they have simply done a poor job of convincing me that there is symbiosis occurring but none of their figures or supporting evidence support that claim. Yes the cyanobacteria survive on top of the biological mushroom and even do quite well. I am even willing to believe that the mushroom tissue could act as a sponge-like reservoir for the alga-gro but that does not make this a symbiosis.

I'd want to see some histology at the algae-mushroom interface. I'm not clear on what would keep the mushroom from adsorbing the alga-gro for itself and/or consuming the algae.They incubated the buttons at 27C for three days which begs the question how they kept them from desiccating or barring that reverting to feeding mycelium.


To be fair to the authors you can only cram so much into a single paper and they do have supporting materials but I am having trouble accessing them.

Edited by 425nm, 08 November 2018 - 05:03 PM.

  • Cuboid likes this

Like Mycotopia? Become a member today!