Fungus Feeds on Radioactivity: The Rise of Space Fungus

fungus mushroom radioactive

I think this fungus makes me taller… http://www.ecogeek.org

Scientists at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine (AEC) have found fungus feeding on radioactivity within the Chernobyl nuclear reactor.  Scientists suspect that melanin, the same UV filter in our skin, is responsible for allowing these fungi to consume a mutant-creating-level of gamma radiation.

Microbiologist Arturo Casadevall learned years before this discovery that a robot had been sent into areas of intense radioactivity and had returned with samples of  black, melanin rich fungi growing on the walls. He and his colleagues later saw reports that the cooling water in some working nuclear reactors turns black from colonies of melanin-rich fungi.

Related Article: Watching Evolution Occur 

radiotrophic fungus

Don’t you see? A nuclear device would only make radiotrophic fungus stronger! http://www.sciencenews.org

Casadevall explains that,

I found that very interesting and began discussing with colleagues whether these fungi might be using the radiation emissions as an energy source.

Despite the lethal gamma radiation lingering at the Chernobyl reactor, many microorganisms find a way to survive. Casadevall thought that maybe the radiation was aiding the fungi’s growth.  According to Casadevall,

The thought was that biology never wastes any energy source.

Sure enough, Casadevall’s hypothesis was correct, and after a series of tests involving 500-times normal radiation levels, electron spin resonance, close-up melanin observation, and a melanin-less albino fungus, the radiotrophic fungus was born into the minds’ of mankind. Researchers also speculate that the fungi aren’t feeding solely on gamma rays, but X-rays, UV rays and other rays as well.

Related Article: New Ecosystem Discovered: Glacier Mice

Want to know how I know reality is batshit crazy? There is life on this planet that feeds on something we can’t even see, but will destroy us from the inside out with cancer nonetheless.  There is life that feeds on death!

types of fungus

And these would be specimens from which planet? http://www.roxypaine.com

Fungus has far more uses than you might have realized:

Related Article: The Evolutionary Leaps of Snails

Fungus is also cooler and better at life than you. Certain fungus species can eject their spore mass

at 35 feet per second (10.8 m per second) to a height of six feet (2 m), and lands as far away as 8 feet (2.5 m).

Fungus species pump out spores at an extremely high rate as well.

A single mushroom can launch 31,000 ballistospores per second, adding up to some 2.7 billion spores per day.

Some types of fungi can even control the air around them to create a spore-scattering breeze where there was only still air before. Check out the following videos. The first one shows a great example of spore dispersal, while the second one contains footage of a spore launch filmed with a high speed camera.

Let’s get back to the melanin study. Do you realize the study serves as a more stable foundation to support the strange, albeit utterly possible supposition that mushrooms came from outside Earth?  Is it really that hard to imagine though? The notion  that mushrooms came from space may be too ‘out there’ for some, but is it really that much weirder than:  Lake life surviving in isolation under ice for 2800 years, the atmosphere of Titan making DNA, or sugar floating around stars?  As they say, truth is stranger than fiction.

fungus space

Hi, my name’s fungi, I’m a fun guy, let’s hang out in your spacecraft! http://www.nbcnews.com

Related Article: Climate Change Too Fast, Evolution Can’t Keep Up

Just like fungus, life shows up in the strangest places and in the most bizarre forms. To end this article on an even more incredible note, would you believe me if I told you there are space mushrooms in the night sky peering into your soul?! How about mutated space mushrooms eating away at space stations? Yup, that’s a thing.

Space fungus has been growing on and within the Russian Mir-Space Station since the late ’80s. While the fungus and other microorganisms are normal terrestrial forms of life that were brought up from Earth with the cosmonauts, they fear potential mutations that 500-times higher gamma radiation exposure can induce in the fungi.  After all, the fungi’s corrosive fluids are already eating through metal, plastic, and other essential materials on the space station. I wonder how much gamma radiation it takes to mutate space fungus into delicious truffles on my dinner plate…

Remember, depending on the observer, all of reality and life is strange and unexpected. To make life even more unpredictable your utterly limited self perceives less than one-billionth of reality, and that’s just the light spectrum. If fungus can teach us anything it is to never underestimate the strangeness of reality and the possibility that there may exist anything we can imagine and more.

 

 

Sources:

http://www.einstein.yu.edu/

http://www.plosone.org/article/fetchArticle.action?articleURI=info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0000457

http://www.scienceagogo.com/news/20070422222547data_trunc_sys.shtml

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiotrophic_fungus

http://www.scientificamerican.com/podcast/episode.cfm?id=mushrooms-create-their-own-breeze-13-11-25

https://wondergressive.com/news/power-of-mushrooms/

https://wondergressive.com/news/2800-year-old-lake-life-survives-in-complete-isolation/

https://wondergressive.com/news/sweet-discovery-simple-sugar-molecules-floating-in-the-gas-around-star/

https://wondergressive.com/news/titans-atmosphere-can-make-dna/

https://wondergressive.com/news/life-its-all-over-the-place/

http://herbarium.usu.edu/fungi/funfacts/Dispersal.htm

http://www.wired.com/wiredscience/2009/01/mushroommagic/

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11471823

http://www.howstuffworks.com/light4.htm

http://www.dailygrail.com/Fresh-Science/2013/7/Our-Tiny-Slice-Reality

Fungi Fun: How to Harness the Power of Mushrooms

Here are two TED talks that discuss different ways we can incorporate the use of simple mushrooms into our lives, and eventual death, to improve the state of the world.

Click  Click

Both videos are practical, highly entertaining, and mind blowingly interesting!

The second video, discussing how mushrooms can be used to decompose corpses, reminded me of something that has bothered me about humanity since I was very young.

There are so many of us, billions, and we all die.  We spend our entire lives consuming the Earth, growing and devouring species to the point of extinction.  And at the end of it all, we are so selfish that we do not give our dead, useless bodies packed full of nutrients back to the Earth.  We wrap ourselves in metal and even in death take up some space in the already crowded Earth.  And then, we carve a stone with our name on it and put it over the ground marking the spot where our rich nutrients are safely being stored and wasted away.

A poetic ending denoting our wastefulness in life that continues to the grave.

Why?

Guess what? Our species is growing!  There are more of us on this planet now then there has been in the entire history of the world! What will we do with all the space clear and fill with coffins?  North America will become one giant prison.  South America will be one giant cemetery.  And we can all just live in Europe/Africa/Asia right?

I have heard so many minds propose the idea of planting a tree instead of making a headstone.  Can you imagine endless forests supported by the nutrients of our dead?  Or orchards; every family can have their own fruit trees, so that visiting grandma and grandpa with the kids at the cemetery can be a joyous event filled with delicious fruit instead of boredom filled with solemn memories.

What better way to honor our dead than with life?

Note: The second video also comments on the various toxins in our body, a major argument for why a deceased body should not be placed directly into the ground.  The use of mushrooms filters the toxins into non harmful organic matter at a rapid rate.

Fungi Fun: Mushrooms and How to Harness Their Power

Here are three TED talks that discuss different ways we can incorporate the use of simple mushrooms into our lives, and eventual death, to improve the state of the world:

Paul Stamets: 6 ways mushrooms can save the world

Jae Rhim Lee: My mushroom burial suit

Eben Bayer: Are mushrooms the new plastic?

All three videos are practical, highly entertaining, and mind blowingly interesting!

The second video, discussing how mushrooms can be used to decompose corpses, reminded me of something that has bothered me about humanity since I was very young.

There are so many of us, billions, and we all die.  We spend our entire lives consuming the Earth, growing and devouring species to the point of extinction.  And at the end of it all, we are so selfish that we do not give our dead, useless bodies packed full of nutrients back to the Earth.  We wrap ourselves in metal and even in death take up some space in the already crowded Earth.  And then, we carve a stone with our name on it and put it over the ground marking the spot where our rich nutrients are safely being stored and wasted away.

A poetic ending denoting our wastefulness in life that continues to the grave.

Why?

Guess what? Our species is growing!  There are more of us on this planet now then there has been in the entire history of the world! What will we do with all the space clear and fill with coffins?  North America will become one giant prison.  South America will be one giant cemetery.  And we can all just live in Europe/Africa/Asia right?

I have heard so many minds propose the idea of planting a tree instead of making a headstone.  Can you imagine endless forests supported by the nutrients of our dead?  Or orchards; every family can have their own fruit trees, so that visiting grandma and grandpa with the kids at the cemetery can be a joyous event filled with delicious fruit instead of boredom filled with solemn memories.

What better way to honor our dead than with life?

Note: The second video also comments on the various toxins in our body, a major argument for why a deceased body should not be placed directly into the ground.  The use of mushrooms filters the toxins into non harmful organic matter at a rapid rate.

We also suggest that you check out our other article on a different kind of mushroom, a magical one.

 

Sources:

Paul Stamets: 6 ways mushrooms can save the world

Jae Rhim Lee: My mushroom burial suit

Eben Bayer: Are mushrooms the new plastic?

A Product That Will Turn You Into a Tree After Death

Fridge Free Food: Kick Your Obsessive Storage Habit & Keep Food Fresher Too

The Ugly Face of Overpopulation

Why Don’t We Eat Insects?

Fat, Poor Kids Just Got A Little Less Fat. Still Poor.

Balls of Fury: Eunuchs Live Longer?

Edible Landscapes