The radioactive cooling pools in the former Chernobyl Nuclear Power Plant in the Ukraine are actually hotbeds of life for fungi. According to Cosmos magazine, this newly discovered fungi is believed to be feeding on the toxic radiation that pollutes the area. Nuclear chemist Ekaterina Dadachova believes the organisms may hold secrets to new food sources for astronauts or crops for food-starved regions.
This discovery wouldn’t likely surprise to Paul Stamets, author of Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World. In a talk for the TED conference (video available below), Stamets laid out his vision of how the fungi could fight disease, change the way people think about pesticides, clean up oil spills, and even help solve the energy crisis. Stamets suggests that humans should join together with mushrooms, helping them grow, and harnessing their surprising power to help, quite literally, save the world.
Image by alfonsobenayas, licensed under Creative Commons.