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Researchers investigating mushrooms found growing inside the remains of the Chernobyl nuclear reactor find that fungi may use melanin to generate biologically usable energy from ionizing radiation

If further research proves that this is actually the case and explicates the mechanism by which it functions, then this has some . . . interesting potential. Considering that we have at least managed to approximate the function of chlorophyll, what if we can figure out how to do the same with this? Safer storage of radioactive waste? Radiation shielding that generates power from what it blocks? Possible alternatives to the steam turbines currently used to generate electricity in nuclear reactors?

Even if none of that sci-fi stuff pans out, fungi are such neat organisms that learning more about their bizarre capabilities is always interesting.

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zengar

May 2011

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