Deinococcus radiodurans-World's Toughest Bacteria

Woa! There's More?

Even though radiation resistance may seem extremely rare, there are a number of organisms that have developed mechanisms to combat radiation.


Ustilago maydis 

Ustilago maydis or corn smut photo taken by Tom VolkUstilago maydis is a plant pathogen more commonly known as corn smut.  Unlike Deinococcus radiodurans, it is not a bacteria, but a fungus.  U. maydis was the first eukaryotic organism discovered with radiation resistance.  The mechanism of its survival remains a mystery for the most part.  Although it has been determined that mutating any of the genes controlling homologous repair causes the organism to become radiation sensitive.  They hypothesize, much like D. radiodurans, that the adaptation evolved to protect the organism against periods of desiccation. 


Chernobyl Soil Fungi

Cladosporium sphaerospermum photo taken by Tom VolkMore interesting yet, were the organisms discovered at the site of the nuclear melt down at Chernobyl Atomic Energy Station.  There were as many as 200 species of fungi isolated growing around the site.  Some of which were not only thriving in the presence of radiation, but actually growing towards the source.  One of which is the fungi, Cladosporium sphaerospermum which is shown in photo to the right.  The mechanism of their survival is also just pure speculation.  The latest theory involves the increase of melanin or quinine found in the fungi. 


Sick of bacteria and want to learn more about cool fungi like these?  Check out Tom Volk's fungi webpage.


Done with Fungi and want to get back to those adorable little prokaryotes?


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