« Talmudic Question #102 | Main | Count Your Mushrooms »


Chuck Turick

I agree that the research on the radiation protection properties of melanin and the ability of microorganisms to actually grow better in the presence of radiation is just incredibly interesting. There is one aspect of the work that has been overlooked. Melanin bleaches. The very intense oxidizing conditions produced by ionizing radiation could play havoc on melanogenic fungi. One question I had was, why aren’t fungi that are exposed to long-term radiation bleach-blondes? Recently I had the pleasure to work with Kate Dadachova and Arturo Casadevall to explore this question. We showed that melanin has a self-healing property when exposed to an electrical potential (Bioelectrochemistry. 82:69-73.). In other words, the radiation can oxidize the melanin and the fungi may in turn counter that by reducing the melanin, possibly through electron transfer. Since, melanin pigments could serve as terminal electron acceptors for growth in microorganisms (Appl. Environ. Microbiol. 68:2436–2444.), it may be that fungi grow better in radiation fields by using melanin as a “bottomless pit” for electrons.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.

Your Information

(Name is required. Email address will not be displayed with the comment.)