Slime Mould Controller for Microbial Fuel Cells

  • Benjamin Taylor
  • Andrew Adamatzky
  • John Greenman
  • Ioannis Ieropoulos
Part of the Emergence, Complexity and Computation book series (ECC, volume 21)


Microbial fuels cells (MFCs) are bio-electrochemical transducers that generate energy from the metabolism of electro-active microorganisms. The organism Physarum polycephalum is a species of slime mould, which has demonstrated many novel and interesting properties in the field of unconventional computation, such as route mapping between nutrient sources, maze solving and nutrient balancing. It is a motile, photosensitive and oxygen-consuming organism, and is known to be symbiotic with some, and antagonistic with other, microbial species. In the context of artificial life, the slime mould would provide a biological mechanism (along with the microbial community) for controlling the performance and behaviour of artificial systems. In the following experiments it was found that Physarum did not generate significant amounts of power when inoculated in the anode. However, when Physarum was introduced in the cathode of MFCs, a statistically significant difference in power output was observed.


Microbial Fuel Cell Slime Mould Anode Chamber Cathode Electrode Anode Electrode 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



Authors would like to thank the European Commission for funding this work under the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) “Physarum Chip: Growing Computers from Slime Mould”. Project reference 316366.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Bristol BioEnergy Centre, Bristol Robotics LaboratoryUniversity of the West of EnglandBristolUK
  2. 2.Unconventional Computing CentreUniversity of the West of EnglandBristolUK
  3. 3.Centre for Research in BiosciencesUniversity of the West of EnglandBristolUK

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