Posted by: Karyn Gregory
In a tale that sounds like it came from a grade B scifi/horror film, comes this gem about radiation-eating fungi:
"Since the 1986 meltdown, at the Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station, the numbers of 'black fungi', rich in melanin, have risen steeply. [Researcher] Casadevall speculated that the fungi could be feeding on the radiation that contaminates the ruin of the nuclear reactor."
Essentially, the mold uses melanin (yes, the same melanin found in human skin pigment) to transform radiation into energy. The implications of this discovery are staggering. Not only could this hold the key for an alternative energy source, but the fungus may also be the answer for tackling nuclear waste.