The slime mold Physarum polycephalum can add another achievement to its long list of remarkable properties. It is already known to find the shortest way through a maze or to follow a balanced diet, without having a central nervous system. Now we show in experiments that it can also spontaneously adjust its pumping efficiency as soon as its environmental conditions change. Thanks to the clever interaction of two superimposed pumping modes, it doesn’t even need more energy, but can still achieve a considerable increase in performance.
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Living system adapts harmonics of peristaltic wave for cost-efficient optimization of pumping performance.
Felix K. Bäuerle, Stefan Karpitschka & Karen Alim,
Phys. Rev. Lett. 124,098102 (2020).