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Could bread mold build a better rechargeable battery?

You probably don’t think much of fungi, and especially those that turn bread moldy, but researchers reporting in the Cell Press journal Current Biology on March 17, 2016 have evidence that might just change your mind. Their findings suggest that a red bread mold could be the key to producing more sustainable electrochemical materials for use in rechargeable batteries.

The researchers show for the first time that the fungus Neurospora crassa can transform manganese into a mineral composite with favorable electrochemical properties.

“We have made electrochemically active materials using a fungal manganese biomineralization process,” says Geoffrey Gadd of the University of Dundee in Scotland. “The electrochemical properties of the carbonized fungal biomass-mineral composite were tested in a supercapacitor and a lithium-ion battery, and it [the composite] was found to have excellent electrochemical properties. This system therefore suggests a novel biotechnological method for the preparation of sustainable electrochemical materials.”

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