Jamie's Blog

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Radiation Eating Fungi



Scientists have discovered that fungi that contain a lot of melanin can actually use radiation as a form of energy and food. What first clued scientists into the discovery was the fact that a species of fungi was discovered growing on the reactor walls of Chernobyl. The melanin in the fungi allows it to convert radiation into energy, much as the pigment in plants allows them to convert sunlight into energy. The more melanin the fungi contains, the more energy it can harvest from the radiation.
Scientists are now speculating as to whether the melanin in human skin, which is chemically identical to that in fungi, may have other previously unknown uses besides protection and coloring.

Via EurekAlert: Einstein researchers' discover 'radiation-eating' fungi

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