Radiation-eating fungi. They kill trees and they kill people.

In 2002, a robot was sent inside the sarcophagus of the destroyed Chernobyl nuclear power plant, and took samples of mold and fungi which were growing on the walls. Five years later, researchers from the Albert Einstein School of Medicine demonstrated that certain fungi “have the capacity to use radioactivity as an energy source for making food and spurring their growth.”

With Fukushima Daiichi & the Japanese burning of tsunami debris spreading nuclear poison over the whole earth, we have a recipe for fat, healthy fungi and sick, dying people.


These fungus species are known as radiotrophic fungi. They use the pigment melanin to convert gamma and beta radiation into chemical energy for growth.


In the original paper, the researchers Dadachova et al showed that ionizing radiation changes the electronic properties of melanin, and enhances the growth of melanized fungi. So any fungus species that contain melanin have their growth spurred in the presence of ionizing radiation. These are not mutant fungi, they are ordinary fungus species found everywhere in the environment. Some of them are common molds that grow in your basement or bathroom.

So these fungi do not actually feed on radiation, they change the properties of melanin, so that it can be converted into energy for growth. Think of radiation as an enzyme that allows melanin to be “digested”. Effectively, it’s the same thing, though.


In this paper, Dadachova and Casadevall discuss the radiation tolerance of fungi, and its role as an adaptation mechanism. There is evidence of widespread prevalence of melanized fungi in the early days of Earth, when radiation was at a much higher level than it is today.

Anyone that follows Chernobyl and radiation measurements of food in Japan know that the worst radioactive contamination in any foodstuffs are in mushrooms. Fungi are very efficient at absorbing radionuclides. Actually, they will eat anything.


Researchers in Turkey found that cesium-137 (from Chernobyl) accumulates more in oak bark than even lichen (which had been thought to be the most contaminated life form). Professor Mori of the WINEP blog showed an autoradiograph of how radionuclides were found in oak bark. Many mushroom species grow on these barks.


Fungus-ridden tree in New Jersey felled by Sandy

Dadachova and Casadevall also discuss radiotropism. This is the tendency of these fungi to move from less contaminated areas of the plant, to more contaminated areas. In a tree, if the fungi start eating in the inmost hardwood area (with the least contamination), they will grow towards the bark on the outside, destroying the tree from the inside out.


The two authors also discussed how radiation increases the amount of spores released by these fungi:

They observed that radiation promoted spore germination in species from contaminated regions, which they called “radiostimulation”. Contrary to their previous results they observed the “radiostimulation” only for the species from contaminated regions but not for isolates from the clean areas. They named this phenomenon “radioadaptive response”.


In the 1930’s, spores were collected in a weather balloon between the levels of 36,000 – 71,000 feet. This is higher than the level of the jet stream (30,000 feet).


Food is treated with gamma rays, which destroy bacteria and microorganisms in the food. The authors also noted that melanized fungi are radioresistant to the typical radiation levels used in this treatment.


Rhizomorphs from an armillaria fungus

Rhizomorphs in New York City

Rhizomorphs or mycelial cords are aggregations of hyphae growing from fungi, which resemble tree roots. They provide water and nutrients for the organism. They can grow very long, under streets and pavements, and can draw nutrients from decomposing leaves at the surface. These leaves may be contaminated with radioactivity, which is all the better for them. They also colonize new hosts (trees), in this manner.


This link provides illustrations of different tree diseases caused by fungi. My son and I recently went on a field trip to 5 different sites in the local area, and saw different kinds of damage. Sometimes the crown goes first, sometimes it is at the bottom, etc.


This pdf provides a good summary on how melanized fungi grow in domestic environments. Many species evolved in unusual ecological niches, and fit right into today’s home. They love dishwashers.


This excellent article (pdf) reviews the current state of medical knowledge of health impacts of melanized fungi. They include the diseases eumycetoma, chromoblastomycosis, and phaeohyphomycosis. The authors classify the conditions into the categories allergic disease, superficial and deep local infections, pulmonary disease, central nervous system (CNS) infection, and disseminated disease.

List of melanized fungi species known to affect human health

Exposure to these fungi is usually due to breathing or minor cuts from infected agents, like thorns or farm implements. “Surveys of outdoor air for fungal spores routinely show dematiaceous (melanized) fungi. This suggests that all individuals are exposed, though few develop disease. Exposure is primarily from inhalation or minor trauma, which is frequently not even noticed by the patient.” Most of these cases occur in the tropics, but they will widely distributed over the planet from now on.

It is important to recognize that exposure to radiotrophic fungi also includes exposure to radioactivity, which of course increases the risk of disease.




“Allergic responses to dematiaceous fungi may actually represent the most common clinical manifestation of these fungi. Though asthma has many associated environmental factors, several studies have linked it with exposure to molds and to dematiaceous fungi… Allergic fungal sinusitis is a relatively common condition, with estimates of 6 to 9% of all cases of chronic sinusitis requiring surgery… it is now appreciated that disease due to dematiaceous fungi actually comprises the majority of cases… Allergic bronchopulmonary mycosis (ABPM) is similar in presentation to allergic bronchopulmonary aspergillosis (ABPA), which is typically seen in patients with asthma or cystic fibrosis.”


“These cases of superficial infections involve only keratinized tissues, such as the fingernails and toenails and the stratum corneum. Consequences of these infections are generally cosmetic… Tinea nigra is an uncommon infection confined to the stratum corneum. The characteristic appearance is that of a pigmented macule, usually on the palms or soles, and may be bilateral.”


Subcutaneous lesions

“Subcutaneous lesions are the most common case reports of infection due to melanized fungi in the literature… Many patients are immunocompetent, and they often are from a rural background, i.e., farmers with frequent, minor trauma from plant material or gardeners… Lesions typically occur on exposed areas of the body and often appear as isolated cystic or papular lesions. Presentation is usually indolent, with weeks to months of gradual enlarging mass, though pain is often absent. Severely immunocompromised patients are at increased risk of subsequent dissemination, though this may rarely occur in apparently immunocompetent patients as well. Occasionally, infection may extend to involve joints or bone, requiring more extensive surgery or prolonged antifungal therapy.”

“Fungal keratitis (inflammation of the cornea) is an important ophthalmologic problem, particularly in tropical areas of the world. In one large series, 40% of all infectious keratitis was caused by fungi, almost exclusively molds.”


“Pulmonary infection is usually seen in immunocompromised patients or those with underlying lung disease, and it may be due to a wide variety of species… Clinical manifestations include pneumonia, asymptomatic solitary pulmonary nodules, and endobronchial lesions which may cause hemoptysis.”


“Central nervous system infection is a rare but frequently fatal manifestation of phaeohyphomycosis, often in immunocompetent individuals. In a review of 101 cases of central nervous system infection due to dematiaceous fungi, the most common presentation was found to be brain abscess… What is truly unique about this disease is that over half the cases were in patients with no risk factor or immunodeficiency. In addition, no specific exposures were associated with onset of infection, though many cases seem to occur in rural areas. Typical symptoms included headache, neurologic deficits, and seizures, though rarely all three… Mortality was >70%… The pathogenesis may be hematogenous spread from an initial, presumably subclinical pulmonary focus, though this remains speculation. However, it remains unclear why these fungi preferentially cause CNS disease in immunocompetent individuals… Meningitis has also been described, usually in immunocompromised patients.”


“Disseminated infection is the most uncommon manifestation of infection caused by melanized fungi. In a review of 72 cases, most patients were immunocompromised, though occasional patients without known immunodeficiency or risk factors developed disseminated disease as well… Interestingly, peripheral eosinophilia has been observed in 9% of cases, and these were generally due to Bipolaris and Curvularia. These same species are often associated with allergic disease… The mortality rate was >70%, despite aggressive antifungal therapy. There were no antifungal regimens associated with improved survival for disseminated infection.”


This abstract from researchers in China details symptoms of cerebral phaeohyphomycosis.

“Cerebral phaeohyphomycosis is a fungal infection of the brain typically caused by Cladophialophora bantiana, Exophiala dermatitidis, and Rhinocladiella mackenziei, all of which belong to the order Chaetothyriales. The disease results in black, necrotic brain tissue, black pus, and black cerebrospinal fluid. Pathogens usually reach the brain through the bloodstream or lymphatic fluid and occasionally through direct spreading or accidental inoculation. Patients can present with hemiparesis, tonic spasm, headache, fever, sensory variation, cerebral irritation, and even psychotic behavioural changes.”

The same thing will happen to human brains

The black, necrotic brain tissue is similar to the black, necrotic leaf tissue we have seen in the dying trees. The same thing that is happening to the trees happens to human brains.

Humans are radioactive too. These fungi seek food.


Read this blog, the Wit’s End blog, or a database of photos I am collecting for more information. Or go to Flickr and enter the search term “Sandy tree”. Most of the uprooted and broken trees from Hurricane Sandy show sign of fungal damage. Tree damage and death is rapidly spreading across the planet.

UPDATE: CDC Responds to Multistate Outbreak of Fungal Meningitis and Other Infections

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in collaboration with state and local health departments and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), is investigating a multistate outbreak of fungal meningitis and other infections among patients who received contaminated preservative-free MPA steroid injections from NECC. Several patients suffered strokes that are believed to have resulted from their infections. The investigation also includes other infections from injections in a peripheral joint, such as a knee, shoulder, or ankle. Patients who received injections in peripheral joints only are not believed to be at risk for meningitis, but they could be at risk for joint and other infections.

As of November 15, 2012, the predominant fungus identified in patients continues to be Exserohilum rostratum, with 84 CDC laboratory-confirmed cases. One patient, the index case, had a laboratory-confirmed Aspergillus fumigatus [JPG – 29 KB] infection. These fungi are common in the environment; fungal infections are not transmitted from person to person.

Multistate Fungal Meningitis Outbreak Investigation

Exserohilum rostratum is a melanized fungus that is on the list of those that affect human health. More information from wikipedia. 32 36 dead so far.

UPDATE: An excellent scientific review on mycotoxins is available here. These are secondary poisons from fungi that affect the health of humans, animals, and plants. Some are carcinogenic.

619 thoughts on “Radiation-eating fungi. They kill trees and they kill people.

  1. Researchers used microscopy tools to identify fungi species responsible for encouraging wood-based “hair ice.”
    BRACHBACH, Germany, July 22 (UPI) — Researchers in Germany say they’ve finally identified the fungal conditions that enable the formation of “hair ice.” Meanwhile, scientists in Switzerland detailed the physics of the phenomenon.

  2. “The same amount of ice is produced on wood with or without fungal activity, but without this activity the ice forms a crust-like structure. The action of the fungus is to enable the ice to form thin hairs – with a diameter of about 0.01 mm – and to keep this shape over many hours at temperatures close to 0°C. Our hypothesis includes that the hairs are stabilised by a recrystallisation inhibitor that is provided by the fungus.”

  3. Details Emerge in Recent Seawater Bacteria Deaths 17 now
    Three new cases were reported in Florida last week. Two deaths were reported.
    Fasciitis is a rare disease that can be caused by more than one type of
    bacteria,” Burger said. “These include group A Streptococcus (group A strep),
    Klebsiella, Clostridium, Escherichia coli, Staphylococcus aureus and Aeromonas
    hydrophila, among others. Group A strep is considered the most common cause of necrotizing fasciitis. Vibrio vulnificus and Necrotizing Fasciitis are not one
    in the same.


  4. The U.S. imports thousands of salamanders per year, a trade that scientists warned should be banned in order to stop the spread of a deadly fungus that kills nearly every salamander that it infects.

    The Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) fungus likely came from China and was spread through pet trade. When this fungus arrived in Europe, it resulted in 96 percent fatality rate among infected European salamander species. Researchers have found that Bsal is likewise fatal to American salamanders that were exposed to it in the lab.

  5. A new disease of snakes has been quietly spreading across the U.S. The disease known as Snake Fungal Disease (SFD) is believed to be caused by a fungus called Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola and so far has been found in 15 states in the eastern half of the U.S. The disease has been discovered as far west as Minnesota, but biologists suspect that SFD is more widespread in the U.S. than is currently documented.

    A strange skin disease affecting snakes have been known to wildlife biologists since the mid-2000s, but “over the past few years, the number of snakes with the disease appears to be increasing,” says Jeffrey Lorch, a microbiologist at the USGS National Wildlife Health Center in Madison, Wisconsin, who recently developed a rapid molecular test for the fungus…

    “Currently, we do not know the origins of this fungus,” said Lorch. “Many people think that [it] must have been introduced [into the U.S.]; however, we do not really have any evidence of that.” “This could just be a pathogen that has been overlooked until other factors – like climate change – exacerbated the disease and made it more visible,” said Lorch.


  6. If people don’t want these pathogens, among them fungi, viruses, bacteria, etc to eat them then they had better figure out how to better live on this planet, instead of continually degrading and undermining the natural health of their environments, themselves and their children via their ‘cultural requirements’, i.e. animal agriculture (culprit for most illnesses treated with vaccines, natural habitat loss), monocropping of grain (more destruction of natural environments like forests with more balanced fungal ecosystems), shitting in water (dumb dumb dumb, really stupid), putting our chemicals, isotopes, and wars everywhere with the absolute glibness of the sorcerer’s apprentice. We are to blame, the humans, or at least those who have taken the lead among us, and we have allowed to take that lead, but not the fungal ‘kingdom’, which is blind to our personal desires for an upwardly-mobile life, and is just doing the digestive and alchemical work nature intended it to do, nothing personal. If people are being eaten by fungi I would recommend eating cannabis, and using a cannabis salve on skin. If you can’t get cannabis there are numerous other anti-fungal herbs which can be used successfully, if rigorously and ‘religiously’. Oregano, funnily enough, is also a powerful ant-ifungal, as is coconut oil. Why not make an infused coconut oil of one these herbs, or another herb that you yourself has researched. It’s easy, there are tons of videos to watch on how to make a simple salve. Also, believe it or not, edible mushrooms, some of them black and thus full of melanin, actually protect us from other, more nefarious fungi. http://repositorio.ucp.pt/bitstream/10400.14/12863/3/Artigo%20180.pdf It is true, if you abuse the earth, and you abuse your body, you become potential prey to fungi. That said, if you honor the earth and love your body, and eat good mushrooms, those that prey on the sick and dying of our out-of-balance civilization will recede. But science wants that we ‘know’ all of the life forms on earth, so we had to experience these one to get to know them? Something like that. Lab science is creepy, abuses animals, and creates false results because divorced from context (nature), results which are then touted as true science, because they represent the fears and desires of the ruling class who pay the bills. It all looks and smells like necromancy to me.

  7. Here is a doc from 1974 detailing damage to cedars in 1969-70.
    by A. Funk

    Quote: “A total of 12 microfungi were recorded on three native Canadian species
    of cupressaceae in Eiritish Columbia, associated with a dieback disease that
    flared up in 1969-1970. Damage occurred both in natural forest and in
    nursery Flantings. ‘Ihe disease has now subsided in all areas.”

    Lots of brown “leaves” from what i’ve witnessed around the valley here, as recently as at least mid-Sept. when i first noticed it. Found two images that somewhat resembles what has appeared. Am seeing damage in cedar trees & shrubs alike. Roughly 5-15% of leaves are browned from top to bottom & on North & Southward sides alike.

    Ref: “3of3 – Pestalotiopsis blight” (not 1/4 as bad as 2of3 … yet?)
    … “Black pinpoint sized spore producing structures on infected twigs and foliage”
    … “Common on plants stressed by winter injury, drought or other factors”

    Ill.U. states: “Pestalotiopsis sp. is a fungal disease that is considered usually a minor disease.” http://extension.illinois.edu/focus/index.cfm?problem=pestalotiopsis-blight

    We have had drought, yet that ended before damage first noticed. I don’t recall yellowing “leaves”. Must look closer for fungi.

    Quote from title: “Cedars are particularly vulnerable to drought damage, says one expert” – http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/bc-hydro-drought-trees-1.3268408

    Am struggleing to recall if i’ve seen this type of damage before. It might seem minor now, yet it certainly had a sudden onset. It remains to be seen what spring will bring, somewhat less shade – or a lot more firewood.

    I feel for my neighbours though – on both sides of the 49th parallel. Thanks for helping to open my eyes, guys!

      • Will look for damage in trees where water-table is rather high. Must also check average root-depth vs H2O table here, too … somehow.
        Had intended at first last week to simply describe what i saw, then decided to seek out any photos that might show what am seeing. I stumbled upon the former, yet stupidly neglected to search THIS site too (only found this comment today). I also need to re-read the main article. (must do so offline with dictionary, etc)
        Can’t seem to tell what came first, the Pestalotiopsis or the damage. Actually, i have no idea how to confirm it’s presence, or disprove. I have no microscope (yet?) and my eyesight isn’t what it used to be a couple of years ago. Dead leaves look to have a mildew-like appearance in places. What struck me was how quickly damage appeared, seemingly after the first week of rains that ended the extreme forest fire hazard.
        (1,386.0 hectares of an area west of Harrison Lake of beautiful forest (incl. habitat & First Nations territory) sadly burnt to a crisp. http://bcwildfire.ca/hprscripts/wildfirenews/OneFire.asp?ID=567 )
        I am genuinely concerned and fearful of what the new year might bring, all things considered, including decreased shade.

      • It seems like the first rains might have brought higher than normal concentrations of “minerals” (am thinking heavy metal, even radioactive) &/or melanized fungi (etc). Am relating to how deeply one drinks after dehydration on a hot day. Would an evergreen not also, in a way?
        Am hearing that at least on pine near here lost so many needles that one could not distinguish grass underneath. Damage might not be confined to cedars here. A nearby birch looks literally half-dead.

        A web search for the terms “cesium evergreen” bring up some intriguing links, including “red forest”.
        Deciduous & evergreen leaves appeared “bright” on my homebrew near-IR webcam years ago (IR filter removed & replaced w. fully exposed 35mm frame cut to fit). Mayhap it might help me see something my eyes cannot…including the relatively nearby sub-tropical rainforest.

        Other people are noticing changes, opening opportunity for me to point out how these changes differ from simple “climate change” models that do not take Fukushima Daiichi/Daiini (+ to lesser extent? 13 other nuke-pukes incl. Sino-Reactor Oct2011, iirc) into account.
        My favorite Richard Feynman quote sums it up well for them concerning “baffled” “officials”, in that “Science is the belief in the ignorance of experts.” (paraphrased?)

        Is there anything i can do to gather data/observations for you (et al) to be posted here on your site, if you like (without being a Lotta-Pesta-sis, so-to-speak)? I thank you, sir.

  8. Bottom picture in article link appears to have changed.
    From: http://dermatology-s10.cdlib.org/143/case_presentations/steatocystoma/1.jpg
    To (am uncertain) {full-size}: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/92w5x3b7/1.jpg
    . {small-size}: http://escholarship.org/uc/item/92w5x3b7/1s.jpg
    Via (where “From” link resolved): http://escholarship.org/uc/item/92w5x3b7

    Quote: “Warning: The NCBI web site requires JavaScript to function”

    Will check back next on a day i dare not forget.

  9. Ionizing Radiation: how fungi cope, adapt, and exploit with the help of melanin
    ….fungi seem to interact with the ionizing radiation differently from other Earth’s inhabitants. Recent data show that melanized fungal species like those from Chernobyl’s reactor respond to ionizing radiation with enhanced growth. Fungi colonize space stations and adapt morphologically to extreme conditions. Radiation exposure causes upregulation of many key genes, and an inducible microhomology-mediated recombination pathway could be a potential mechanism of adaptive evolution in eukaryotes. …

  10. Snake Disease: Fungus Causing Widespread Skin Infections Has Been Found

    Researchers from the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) have found the culprit behind a deadly skin infection spreading among snake populations
    in the eastern half of the U.S. Now that they have definitively proven a fungus called Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola is to blame, researchers can start working toward a cure, according…

  11. Endangered Baw Baw Frog has its own national awareness day
    November 18 has officially been proclaimed as National Baw Baw Frog Day, to raise awareness of the endangered Victorian frog.
    The Baw Baw Frog, according to Zoos Victoria, is one of Victoria’s unique animals.
    The tiny, brown amphibian lives on the slopes of Mount Baw Baw, at the southern tip of Australia’s Great Dividing Range.
    The numbers of the endemic Victorian species have dropped to historic lows, with a more than 90 per cent decline in population in the past 15 years. …

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