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Chernobyl mould protects from radiation, petrichor and COVID reducing premature births

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What do melanin, the International Space Station and Chernobyl have in common? Mould. Tim shares how radiation eating fungi at Chernobyl may be used to shield future astronauts on voyages to Mars and beyond. Proof of concept research showing a 2% reduction in radiation levels on surfaces where mould was growing (and self-replicating, that means no maintenance as long as there is plenty of radiation to consume!! Yum!).

Ben promised last week to tell us about the glorious smell of rain- or petrichor- what causes it and is it really an Aussie invention? The term first coined in 1964 by CSIRO scientists Isabel Bear and Richard Thomas, is comprised of the Greek words “petra” (stone) and “ichor” (which is the blood of the gods).

But what actually is it that we’re smelling? And where does it come from??

Hospitals around the world have noticed a reduction in premature births. Why is COVID-19 reducing premmie babies in some places but not others? Danish and Irish Hospitals simultaneously noticed the effects and in a pre-print publication, Danish researchers report a 90% reduction in births at <28weeks gestation. The time of highest mortality. Although the causes aren’t known researchers theorise reduced air pollution, reduced physical stress and greater home care- all due to COVID lockdowns, may be the drivers.

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