Radiation eating fungi thrive on gamma rays.

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vk3ukf







PostPosted: January 6, 2010 2:05 AM 

Hi folks, this is a bio type mention of something I heard and then checked up on.

I thought it was worth sharing.

Black fungus was found thriving inside the extreme radiation environment at the wrecked Chernobyl reactor site.

It seems these lifeforms thrive on gamma rays and use them in a similar fashion to plants using photsynthesis that we are familiar with.

Perfect lifeform for a place like Mars.

The exact mecahnism of energy transfer is unknown, but is known to involve the chemical melanin, yes, the same melanin in human skin. It seems melanin is responsible for converting radiation into chemical energy. Humans may be getting some of their energy from the light they are exposed to.

Lots of UV on Mars, perhaps the Martian bugs, use melanin to convert UV and local nutrients into their chemical energy and other byproducts, methane. Which we seem to be able to see, in strange clouds, which from what I read, should have dissipated long ago.

Since these fungi, lap up the bad stuff and turn it into good stuff, bio material.

It has been proposed that it be thought of as a possible food source in an interplanetary mission.

With bugs like this on Earth, knowing we have probably had chunks blasted off our surface.

How can our Solar System not be swarming with life of some resilient types.

Bugs of this sort would possibly hibernate a ride on the rocks until landing somehwere a bit happier. Mars, a Jovian or Saturnian moon.

Hmm, why not the atmosphere's of those worlds themselves, who am I kidding, these things look like they can can and probably do live everywhere.

I'm glad I heard about this, bit of an eye opener.

I had always thought bugs living in high rad zones were merely rad tolerant,
not rad eaters.

So, now we need to expand our perceptions of
how life can absorb and convert radiation into usable forms.
What parts of the known radiation spectrum are used by lifeforms.
Plants that we are familiar with, use pretty much the same part of the spectrum, that our own eyes are sensitive to, visible light.
They use chlorophyll.

Now we also have gamma radiation eating fungus.
It uses melanin and an electron spin change is involved here somewhere.

OK, now I feel ignorantly aware, as opposed to before, where I was just ignorant full stop.

There is a lot of radiation spectrum to check on.

No doubt a lot of wonderful extremophiles will be discovered.

I never realised the possibilities for exobiology had expanded so much.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiotrophic_fungus

[link]

Kevin.

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PostPosted: January 8, 2010 12:03 PM 

Pleased you saved myself and others the search time in this. Here is an interesting image of a HiRISE south polar Spider/fan formation which shows a very ordered crystalline or 'growth in place' item which is ten foot plus in size, right at the core active zone of the Spider/fan action when these are in streaking seasonal mode, and the lower side of this shows a liquid or semi-liquid flow pattern based upon the same radial structure, but much looser in ordering. As we cannot yet rule out any particular processes in the Mars regions of recent activity, we could possibly take note of the potential for the solar radiation incoming at the martian poles to be powering these formations, now, or in the distant past. What orders and grows to this size in numbers has to be powered by some energy source, short or long term, and the topic you are suggesting gives a vast length of time to the powering of the 'fuel' in the ground mass layered system at the poles where we find the basics for fungi, fungal, or similar possibilities. Even a mineral suite powered by these would be as valuable a discovery.
This looks to me to be similar to a calcite type rosette, or petalled mineral design as much as a 'palm' frond assembly. Matches the Spider classic formation shape, and adds to the question of what funds the active geology of the Mars polar seasonal fan streaking.
Possibly the actions are only an erosion process, powered by the solar wind and related processes, but the topic here suggests something more can be considered, perhaps.
.

.
This set of images is presented on another topic, with additional images. Just thought to present a possible applied related process in real context here.

Beyond the expected items we see around us, how much have we not seen or explored throughout the solar system, and beyond. We consider the organic actions of life on Earth as strictures(limitations), but we nearly cannot place virus and other unusual objects in context even in the organic content taxonomy as yet. Ordered materials which are seasonally active, reproduce and transform our environment, using unusual energy systems.
Can Mars provide a new basic formulae for describing the limits in active systems which resemble life on Earth?
Could this fungi in your linked article fund an entire food chain system?
Thanks, Kevin.

field


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PostPosted: January 15, 2010 8:34 AM 

Another interesting one is the bacteria that can metabolise oxygen from iron oxide. Or maybe it was using the iron and oxygen was a byproduct. Can't recall now!




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