On the Loading of Slime Mold Physarum polycephalum with Microparticles for Unconventional Computing Application

Research paper by Angelica Cifarelli, Alice Dimonte, Tatiana Berzina, Victor Erokhin

Indexed on: 11 Jan '14Published on: 11 Jan '14Published in: BioNanoScience


The plasmodium of Physarum polycephalum is a large single cell visible with the naked eye. The plasmodium realizes a pattern of protoplasmic veins which span sites of sources of nutrients, producing efficient network structures like cycles and Steiner minimum trees. Besides, the plasmodium can embed different chemicals; therefore, it should be possible to program the plasmodium to realize deterministic adaptive network and spatial distribution of nanoscale and microscale materials. The transported particles can be used for the modification of the physical properties of the system (electrical, optical, magnetic) facilitating the readout of the information, processed by the slime mold. Experiments with polystyrene microparticles and MnCO3 microparticles demonstrate that the plasmodium of Physarum can propagate nanoscale objects using a number of distinct mechanisms. The results of our experiments could be employed in the field of the unconventional computing and bio-computing application devices, using Physarum network as scaffolds for the development of hybrid nanocircuits and microcircuits and devices.