Fungi are growing on the walls of Chernobyl’s ruined nuclear reactor. They seem to absorb radiation and convert it into chemical energy for growth.

Fungi That ‘Eat’ Radiation Are Growing on the Walls of Chernobyl’s Ruined Nuclear Reactor

In the eerie environment inside the abandoned Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant, researchers remotely piloting robots spotted pitch black fungi growing on the walls of the decimated No. 4 nuclear reactor and even apparently breaking down radioactive graphite from the core itself. What’s more, the fungi seemed to be growing towards sources of radiation, as if the microbes were attracted to them!

More than a decade later, University of Saskatchewan Professor Ekaterina Dadachova (then at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York) and her colleagues acquired some of the fungi and found that they grew faster in the presence of radiation compared to other fungi. The three species tested, Cladosporium sphaerospermum, Cryptococcus neoform… Continue Reading (2 minute read)

15 thoughts on “Fungi are growing on the walls of Chernobyl’s ruined nuclear reactor. They seem to absorb radiation and convert it into chemical energy for growth.”

  1. BrosephToDaMoon

    Real life protomolecule

  2. notagoodboye

    The weirdest thing about that is that is more like what *plants* do…It’s very out of character for a fungus. Normally they harvest energy from dead things.

  3. Kaetra

    My concern is that they will become self-aware and choose to use their powers for evil.

  4. Gr4ph0n

    The fungi around Chernobyl have absorbed radiation too, and the animals known to graze on them have heightened levels of radioactivity.

  5. PizzaQuest420

    this does have some fascinating implications. apparently the fungi uses melanin for this conversion, which is the same pigment in human skin. perhaps this mechanism could be adapted for human beings one day, allowing us to not only withstand the radiation from space travel, but to actually use it for energy

  6. TheHurtinAlbertans

    Isn’t this how The Last of Us started?

  7. boudain

    Isn’t this pretty much what happens in Nausicaa?

  8. Alakazam

    I did a paper during my undergrad on this.

    They’re also on the space station, absorbing extrasolar radiation as well as a mountaintop (I forget which). It’s super neat how they work!

    It’s not actually a single breed of fungi, but actually that the different fungi adapt to the radiation the same way. They cause a mutation in their melanin to allow it to absorb ionizing radiation to convert it into simple energy. Really cool.

  9. Ninnux

    I, for one, welcome our radioactive sentient toadstool overlords.

  10. Asuhhbruh

    Chernobyl copying the The Expanse ova here

  11. brucekeller

    Fungi are awesome. I think they pretty much turned the rocky planet into one that has soil and helped pave the way for all other complex life. If anything complex would survive an apocalypse it would be fungi IMO.

  12. PaXProSe

    It reaches out…
    It reaches out…
    It reaches out.

    One hundred and thirteen times a second, nothing answers and it reaches out.

  13. Any_Tea_2220

    I’d like to eat one of those mushrooms. Possibly gain super powers.

  14. OkBeing3301

    The real Magic mushrooms

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