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Physarum polycephalum, which literally means "many-headed slime," is a slime mold that inhabits damp and dark habitats, such as decaying wood. Thanks to its ability to respond to stimuli such as light, chemicals and vibrations, this single-celled, self-growing organism has attracted the attention of scientists in recent years. With its behavioral pattern of forming a network of protoplasmic tubes to move towards its food source along the shortest paths, slime mold has been useful for computer science where path planning is a frequently studied topic.
Utilising slime mold, the EU-funded PhySense project is developing marketable biosensors for various applications, including environmental monitoring and health. As explained in a news item by the European Commission, the project team has made the low-cost prototype biosensor technology available to universities, schools, research centers and citizen scientists. The project also has an online portal and database where participants can share their findings.
News - Item - Project - Co-investigator - Developer
According to the same news item, the project's co-investigator and lead developer, Neil Phillips, says: "With the addition of more environmental contaminants which may be a threat for humans and the overall ecosystem, the need for faster and more accurate biosensors is high."
A biosensor converts a biological response into an electrical signal. Using the same logic, the mold is made to grow between electrodes connected to electronic devices that amplify and measure the organism's reactions to...
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