On the October 1 broadcast of Conan O’Brien’s late night talk show and in observance of World Vegetarian Day, an engineering team from UCR’s Bourns College of Engineering was mentioned in his opening monologue for their research on a lithium-ion battery anode powered by portobello mushrooms.

The research was published September 29 in the journal, “Nature Scientific Reports.” The paper, authored by Professor Mihri Ozkan of the Electrical Engineering Department, Professor Cenzig Ozkan of the Mechanical Engineering department, and three of their former graduate students, was titled “Bio-Derived, Binderless, Hierarchically Porous Carbon Anodes for Li-ion Batteries,” and outlined how the properties of the portobello mushroom, including the porosity and high potassium salt concentration, contributed to its utility as an alternative power source to synthetic graphite.

Brennen Campbell, a graduate student in the Materials Science and Engineering program and co-author of the research paper told UCR Today, “With battery materials like this, future cell phones may see an increase in run time after many uses, rather than a decrease, due to apparent activation of blind pores within the carbon architectures as the cell charges and discharges over time.”