Fung i and i on izi ng rad iati on f rom rad i onuclid es

Fung i and i on izi ng rad iati on f rom rad i onuclid es


John Dig hton, Tatyana Tugay2 & Nelli Zhdanova

Radionuclides in the env ironment are one of the major concerns to human health and ecotoxicolog y. The explosion at the Chernobyl nuclear power plant renewed interest in the role played by fungi in mediating radionuclide movement in ecosystems. As a result of these studies, our knowledge of the impor tance of fungi, especially in their mycorrhizal habit, in long-term accumulation of radionuclides, transfer up the food chain and regulation of accumulation by their host plants was increased. Micro-fungi have been found to be hig hly resilient to exposure to ionizing radiation, w ith fungi having been isolated from w ithin and around the Chernobyl plant. Radioresistance of some fungal species has been linked to the presence of melanin, which has been shown to have emerging properties of acting as an energ y transpor ter for metabolism and has been implicated in enhancing hy phal grow th and directed grow th of sensitized hy phae towards sources of radiation. Using this recently acquired knowledge, we may be in a better position to suggest the use of fungi in bioremediation of radioactively contaminated sites and cleanup of industrial effluent



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