Magnetic Nanoparticles-Loaded Physarum polycephalum: Directed Growth and Particles Distribution

  • Alice DimonteEmail author
  • Angelica Cifarelli
  • Tatiana Berzina
  • Valentina Chiesi
  • Patrizia Ferro
  • Tullo Besagni
  • Franca Albertini
  • Andrew Adamatzky
  • Victor Erokhin
Original Research Article


Slime mold Physarum polycephalum is a single cell visible by an unaided eye. The slime mold optimizes its network of protoplasmic tubes to minimize expose to repellents and maximize expose to attractants and to make efficient transportation of nutrients. These properties of P. polycephalum, together with simplicity of its handling and culturing, make it a priceless substrate for designing novel sensing, computing and actuating architectures in living amorphous biological substrate. We demonstrate that, by loading Physarum with magnetic particles and positioning it in a magnetic field, we can, in principle, impose analog control procedures to precisely route active growing zones of slime mold and shape topology of its protoplasmic networks.


Unconventional computing Physarum polycephalum Network Magnetic particles Analog control 



We acknowledge the financial support of the Future and Emerging Technologies (FET) programme within the Seventh Framework Programme for Research of the European Commission, under the Collaborative project PhyChip, Grant Agreement No. 316366. We also acknowledge Yury Gunaza for the preparation of the artwork for the paper and Francesca Licci and Francesca Casoli for helpful discussions.


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Copyright information

© International Association of Scientists in the Interdisciplinary Areas and Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Alice Dimonte
    • 1
    Email author
  • Angelica Cifarelli
    • 1
    • 2
  • Tatiana Berzina
    • 1
  • Valentina Chiesi
    • 1
  • Patrizia Ferro
    • 1
  • Tullo Besagni
    • 1
  • Franca Albertini
    • 1
  • Andrew Adamatzky
    • 3
  • Victor Erokhin
    • 1
  1. 1.National Council of the Researches – Institute of Materials for Electronics and Magnetism (CNR-IMEM)ParmaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Physics and Earth ScienceUniversity of ParmaParmaItaly
  3. 3.Unconventional Computing CentreUniversity of the West of EnglandBristolUK

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