London, March 28: Solid silicon devices may soon be a thing of past as scientists have now built logical circuits using living slime mould that might act as the building blocks for computing devices and sensors.
Found in a wide variety of colours, the slime mould uses spores to reproduce.
The scientists have built logical circuits that exploit networks of interconnected slime mould tubes to process information.
This represents a new way to build micro-fluidic devices for processing environmental or medical samples on very small scale for testing and diagnostics, the research found.
The extension to a much larger network of slime mould tubes could process nanoparticles and carry out sophisticated Boolean logic operations of the kind used by computer circuitry.
“The slime mould based gates are non-electronic, simple and inexpensive, and several gates can be realised simultaneously at the sites where protoplasmic tubes merge,” said Andrew Adamatzky of University of West of England in Britain and Theresa Schubert of Bauhaus-University Weimar in Germany.
In its vegetative state, the slime mould spans its environment with a network of tubes that absorb nutrients.
The tubes also allow the organism to respond to light and changing environmental conditions that trigger the release of reproductive spores.
The study appeared in the journal Materials Today.