Fungi and ionizing radiation from radionuclides

John Dighton, Tatyana Tugay, Nelli Zhdanova

Research output: Contribution to journalShort surveypeer-review

118 Scopus citations


Radionuclides in the environment are one of the major concerns to human health and ecotoxicology. 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 importance 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 highly resilient to exposure to ionizing radiation, with fungi having been isolated from within 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 energy transporter for metabolism and has been implicated in enhancing hyphal growth and directed growth of sensitized hyphae 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.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-120
Number of pages12
JournalFEMS Microbiology Letters
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2008

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Microbiology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


  • Melanin
  • Micro-fungi
  • Mycorrhizae
  • Radioadaptive properties
  • Radionuclides
  • Remediation


Dive into the research topics of 'Fungi and ionizing radiation from radionuclides'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this