In an email to USA TODAY, Mannoor said they integrated the microbes and mushroom in a way that "the cyanobacteria is able to make the energy by photosynthesis while the mushroom provide it with the suitable "shelter" to do so". The cyanobacteria on the mushrooms cap photosynthesized under the light and it sent electrons through the conductive graphene approximately measuring 65 nanoAmps of current. The graphene nanoribbons acted like nano-probes that access the bio-electrons from the cyanobacterial cells.
Clusters of energy-producing cyanobacteria were attached to a typical button mushroom using 3D-printing technology, alongside an electrode network to harness the power they produce.
Researchers at the Stevens Institute of Technology, New Jersey have added cyanobacteria (commonly known as blue-green bacteria) and graphene nanoribbons to the cap of the mushrooms to generate and collect electricity.
"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". "These are the next steps, to optimise the bio-currents, to generate more electricity, to power a small LED."A big plus for the experiment was the fact that the bugs on the fungus lasted several days longer compared with cyanobacteria placed on other surfaces".
To solve this problem, scientist Sudeep Joshi decided that environment for the bacteria to become mushrooms.
Joshi said that down the road the cyanobacteria-mushroom hybrid could even be a renewable source of energy. "We showed for the first time that a hybrid system can incorporate an artificial collaboration, or engineered symbiosis, between two different microbiological kingdoms", Joshi says.
To create a bionic mushroom that can generate electricity, the researchers 3D-printed cyanobacteria contained in hydrogen directly onto button mushroom caps in a spiral pattern. When they shined a light on the mushroom, it activated cyanobacterial photosynthesis and produced a photocurrent.
Joshi and Mannoor discovered they could produce more electricity depending on the density and alignment of the bacteria.
"With this work, we can imagine enormous opportunities for next-generation bio-hybrid applications", Mannoor says.
'For example, some bacteria can glow, while others sense toxins or produce fuel. "By seamlessly integrating these microbes with nanomaterials, we could potentially realise many other awesome designer bio-hybrids for the environment, defence, healthcare and many other fields".