The strain of fungi that grow in the Chernobyl nuclear reactor will help people protect themselves from dangerous rays, Scientific American magazine writes.
Also on the topic: Chernobyl: 12 facts about the accident, the city and animals
What makes fungus special?
In 1991, 5 years after the accident at the Chernobyl reactor, a black fungus saturated with gamma rays was found on the walls. Scientists were amazed at the find, they tried to find out how this organism survived.
The fungus is able to process radiation / unsplash.com
It turned out that he was not only not afraid of radiation, but even fed on it. And all due to the huge amount of melanin – the pigment that makes our skin brown from sunburn. It was he who allowed the fungus to normally absorb harmful rays and then convert them into chemical energy.
In approximately the same way, plants convert carbon dioxide and chlorophyll into oxygen and glucose through photosynthesis. The fungus uses radio synthesis, and now its features can help people.
How can this help humanity?
According to NASA researcher Katsura Venkateswaran (Kasthuri Venkateswaran), who is experimenting with the fungus Cryptococcus neoformans, its release absorbs radiation, and the production of drugs based on the fungus can become a powerful barrier to harmful toxic rays.
For example, this will help cancer patients during exposure, nuclear plant operators and aircraft pilots are not afraid of radioactive rays.
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