Philotic writes: Researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have discovered a unique property of certain fungi that allows them to utilize ionizing radiation similar to how plants harvest energy from the sun. In tests, fungi that contain melanin grow significantly faster than normal when exposed to radiation as high as 500% that of background levels. From the article:
Scientists have long assumed that fungi exist mainly to decompose matter into chemicals that other organisms can then use. But researchers at the Albert Einstein College of Medicine of Yeshiva University have found evidence that fungi possess a previously undiscovered talent with profound implications: the ability to use radioactivity as an energy source for making food and spurring their growth.The article implies possible use of the fungi as a nuclear waste clean-up agent, as well as a food source for astronauts on long space flights.