Melanized Fungi Thrives on Radioactivity


Scientists have discovered that fungi which harbors melanin may be able to thrive ionic radiation and thus convert radioactivity into biomass. Aside from the potential in environmental clean-up, these findings may also have wider impact.

“The fungal kingdom comprises more species than any other plant or animal kingdomlinks, so finding that they’re making food in addition to breaking it down means that Earth’s energetics-in particular, the amount of radiation energy being converted to biological energy-may need to be recalculated.”

“Since ionizing radiation is prevalent in outer space, astronauts might be able to rely on fungi as an inexhaustible food source on long missions or for colonizing other planets.”


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