Gallery B

Those Amazing Mushrooms
Page 2
Page 3

Fungus Found Feeding On Nuclear Toxins

By James Donahue

Paul Stamets, possibly the world’s top specialist in fungus and mushroom research, has touted the theory that the many existing fungal species on the planet may be capable of healing our bodies and even saving the Earth from the toxins we have damaged it with.

Now researchers at the ruined Chernobyl nuclear powered electric generating plant in the Ukraine, have discovered a strange black goo-like substance growing on the interior walls of the highly radioactive facility that appear to be proving Stamets right.

The slimy substance was collected by robotic machines that recently entered the plant, where no human has dared to go since the plant exploded in a meltdown and burned in a 1986 disaster, Examination of this substance, which appears to be growing on the walls, found it to contain a collection of several fungi that not only thrives in the radioactivity, but appears to be feeding on it.

Experiments in the lab found that the fungi grows significantly faster when exposed to gamma radiation at 500 times the radiation level measured at Chernobyl. 

In other words, the fungi appears to be doing what humans cannot do at Chernobyl. It is busy cleaning up the mess left at the site and possibly making the plant and the toxic ground for miles around fit for human, animal and vegetation to safely live there again.

Granted, the work of the fungi is a slow process. It may take a human lifetime or more to save the area. But this natural living instrument from the Mother Earth is busy eating away at the toxins.
What is amazing to researchers is that the fungi appear to be using melanin, a chemical found in human skin, in the same way plants use chlorophyll, to do its work. One report noted that the melanin molecule alters the very chemistry of the gamma rays flying around inside the plant.
The discovery has the scientific world puzzling over possibilities for future use of fungal spores. If the Japanese workers can get the looming disaster at Fukishima under control, and save the damaged nuclear plants there from exploding the sending toxic radiation all over the Northern Hemisphere, there is a possibility that this area also can be rescued by the same black goo found growing at Chernobyl. 
In fact, some researchers are considering modifications in the spores that can be sprayed around in the toxic buildings and then letting them feed freely on the radioactive isotopes.

Other thoughts are that similar spore mixtures might help solve problems facing future astronauts as they travel through space and survive the constant gamma ray bombardment from the sun. Various fungi that might grow on future space craft might prove to be a healthy food for space travelers.

Indeed, if people thought Stamets was a bit odd because of his intense lifelong interest in mushrooms, they are having second thoughts today. It appears that Stamets is not only right with his theories, he may have only scratched the surface in the kind of research that this new discovery at Chernobyl will spawn.