Melanin-filled fungus thriving on radiation from Chernobyl meltdown

    According to Popular Mechanics, scientists have discovered a fungus that lives on radiation from the infamous crash site. The astonishing discovery was documented when scientists found the fungus in a decommissioned nuclear reactor that is still covered in gamma radiation. Chernobyl and surroundings, but the hotspot has also become a mecca for a certain type of mushroom. 

    melanin filled fungus chernobyl

    Previous studies have shown that fungi growing in contaminated regions try to reach different sources of radiation. Bewildered, researchers began studying the organisms known as black fungi because of their melanin concentration and found three different species that live on gamma radiation, according to Popular Mechanics. The results, published in PLoS One, showed that all three fungal species grew and thrived faster in the presence of radiation. 

    The fungi found in Chernobyl can even decompose radioactive material such as hot graphite. Fungi can decompose radioactive material such as hot graphite in the remnants of its reactor, according to the current method. 

    Mushrooms also tend to produce pigments such as melanin, which is thought to protect them from a range of environmental pollutants. Previous studies have shown that most fungi found in contaminated regions grow in the presence of radioactive materials and try to reach these compounds 2. 

    Dadachova’s team found that radiation exposure causes the fungus’s melanin molecules to change shape and perform common metabolic and chemical reactions. The melanizing fungus does indeed appear to thrive in the presence of ionizing radiation, ultraviolet, and gamma rays, which are normally considered very life-threatening. The fact that the fungi exposed to high levels of radiation are dark could simply mean that the melanins they use to protect them from the night light that hits them. 

    The walls of the damaged nuclear reactor in Chernobyl are covered with melanin fungus, and a robot sent to search the area found the black fungus growing on its outside. The scientists later analyzed the fungus and found that it contains melanin, a pigment found in human skin that gives it its color. It has also been found to live in high levels of ionizing radiation, UV radiation, and gamma rays, as well as in the presence of gamma radiation. 

    The walls of Chernobyl are covered with a strange fungus that actually eats and grows out of radiation. Although the fungus appears to thrive in nuclear radiation, it cannot be cleaned of it, according to the scientists. 

    In 1986, the reactors at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant were routinely tested when something went terribly wrong. In what has been described as the worst nuclear accident in history, two explosions blew up the roof of the reactor building, covering the entire area and its surroundings with enormous amounts of radiation that rendered it unusable for human life. 

    Five years after the disaster, the walls of the Chernobyl reactors began to be covered with an unusual fungus. In 1991, five years before the Fukushima disaster, scientists found a fungus, a kind of fungus similar to the fungus that grows on the walls of nuclear reactors and grows in the ground around the reactor building and in other parts of Ukraine. 

    They soon realized that the fungus was not only immune to deadly radiation but actually attracted it. This led them to question the safety of growing something like this in an extreme environment full of radiation. 

    Eventually, the researchers realized that the fungi were not only insensitive to deadly radiation but also seemed to be attracted to it. About a decade later, researchers found that the fungus is sensitive to the pigment melanin, which is also found in human skin and can perform radiosynthesis. Decades later, researchers tested these fungi and found that they have the same ability as the pigments found on the skin of humans and other animals such as birds. 

    People with darker skin tones tend to have much more melanin, which is known to emit ultraviolet radiation from the skin. The reactor has since been destroyed, but not because of radiation exposure, according to the U.S. Department of Energy. 

    In mushrooms, however, they reportedly absorb radiation and convert it into a different type of chemical energy for growth, according to the US Department of Energy. 

    Scientists believe this mechanism could be used to create a renewable energy source that provides a shield against radiation. Scientists have discovered that a fungus living near the former Chernobyl nuclear power plant could absorb radiation and convert it into energy. Experts say the strange fungi have the ability to consume the radiation and convert it into energy, which scientists say can be reused. 

    The fungi found near Chernobyl are called Cryptococcus neoformation and, according to information published in Nature in 2007, are capable of extracting radioactive material such as hot graphite from the remnants of the nuclear power plant’s reactors. Nature said in 2009 that the variety found at the Chern nuclear power plant in Ukraine can remove up to 1,000 times more radiation than the average human body. 

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