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ActivismWar & Conflict

Fungi Locks Away Dangerous Depleted Uranium

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That fungus among us may be the answer to uranium-polluted soils eventually being brought back into use.

Researchers at Dundee Unversity in the UK have determined that fungi can block uranium from finding its way into plants, animals or the water supply.

Scientists have found that what they call free-living and plant fungi can, “colonise depleted uranium surfaces and transform the metal into uranyl phosphate minerals”.

That action helps prevent uranium uptake by plants, animals and microbes, although there would still be some threat involved. Researchers said the minerals produced by the fungi are capable of long-term uranim retention.

The research is currently focused in war zones such as Iraq, where weapons using hazardous radioactive uranium-235 leave a dangerous radioactive residue. The depleted uranium is added to weapons to help them penetrate targets, but leaves a wide field of radiation after exploding.

The findings are preliminary, with many questions yet to be answered. But researchers believe this may be an economical and quite simple way to deal with highly radioactive soils, just add moisture and nutrients to the soil to help fungi flourish.

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5 comments
  1. Engineer

    This article provokes many questions:
    can you really grow these fungi in climatic conditions such as Iraq’s?

    What happens when the fungi rots, where do the uranium salts go then?

    How long do the fungi need to operate in order to make a significant difference to the radiation levels?

    How did this interesting capacity come to be discovered?

  2. ken

    This should be reviewed by a scientist. U235 is not depleted uranium. Errors like this to not help the story credibility.

    “The research is currently focused in war zones such as Iraq, where weapons using hazardous radioactive uranium-235 leave a dangerous radioactive residue. The depleted uranium is added to weapons to help them penetrate targets, but leaves a wide field of radiation after exploding.”

  3. Leslie @ the oko box

    This is awesome to read about! I think we haven’t even scratched the surface of how the earth can right itself, if finally given the opportunity. I live in the smokey mountains, and all the older local mountain people know that there are certain plants that clean the soil – chickory, dandelions, and comfrey…
    I love the concept of fungi transforming toxic waste into other minerals!

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