Consequences of Chernobyl Tragedy

The Chernobyl tragedy occurred on April 26, 1986, at a nuclear-powered plant in one of the regions of Ukraine called Chernobyl. The catastrophe also culminated in the continuous release of large amounts of toxic content into the environment in Europe (Ivy Panda, 2019). According to the American Cancer Society, radiation in high doses can cause tissue damage and acute disease and raise the risk of cancer (Weisberger M, 2019). This is an example of the SHE concept application.
 The illustration of the Chernobyl exclusion zone as seen above. The 'dead town' of Pripyat has situated close the disaster spot. The illustration of the Chernobyl exclusion zone as seen above. The 'dead town' of Pripyat has situated close the disaster spot.\nCryptococcus neoformans is a remarkable example of cell biology research. It is the only eukaryotic pathogen with a polysaccharide capsule, which is an important structure for the fungi to obtain the ability to virulence (Rodrigues M. et al, 2017). Cryptococcus neoformans is a fungus living in the soil worldwide. People may get infected with C. neoformans in the microscopic fungus after breathing, but most people exposed to the fungus never get sick from it. Most cases occur in people with compromised immune systems, particularly those with advanced HIV/AIDS (Ostroverkh Y, 2020).

Cryptococcus neoformans in detail

This is an example of the SHE concept application because it enables scientists to make discoveries, evaluate socioeconomic cultural, and environmental impacts, offer valid explanations, and make reliable predictions. The scientists, Kasthuri Venkateswaran, a research scientist at NASA and Professor Clay Wang of the University of Southern California, discovered that this fungus was able to protect from deadly rays (Elsom J, 2020). The scientists discovered that the fungus was found growing inside the nuclear reactor and towards it despite the radiation in the area. When the fungi present in Chernobyl was first analysed, researchers were taken aback that any organism could withstand such an effect on radiation. Scientists later discovered the explanation behind this was melanin. The ingestion of fungi radiation is possible from the pigment which makes human skin dark. The cycle called radiosynthesis is very similar to photosynthesis. Fungi eat ionising radiation and turn it into growth chemicals, just as regular plants transform CO2 into oxygen (Ostroverkh Y, 2020).

Kasthuri Venkateswaran, a NASA research scientist (right) and Professor Clay Wang of the University of Southern California (left) sent fungi samples to the International Space Station to see whether they evolved even than higher rates of radiation.
NASA scientists identified three possible innovations to be useful for humanity. They also sent melanin samples to the International Space Station to study one of them, to verify if melanin protects the skin and other surfaces. After everything, melanin's innate capacity to absorb Ultraviolet rays and ionising radiation will help citizens everywhere. Sunscreen can be produced which protects skin and structures against harmful UV rays. The second choice applies to transportation and electricity use. The radiation-eating fungus generates energy during radiosynthesis. The fungi fibres, for instance, as more sustainable alternatives to solar panels. Finally, NASA's Kasthuri Venkateswaran assumes the fungus of the studies is a good defence against radiation. It may mitigate patient harm during chemotherapy or in nuclear power plant engineering (Ostroverkh Y, 2020).
Healthcare facilities could be offered a modern and efficient method of shielding patients from radiation. Health-care scientists will create a new form of radiation-resistant materials utilising the fungus' key skill. Such advances could theoretically reduce the damage from radiation, MRI, and X-rays. Around the same moment, another field of significant opportunities for C. neoformans is the aerospace. For instance, the discovered fungi coupled with a sunscreen space structure will shield humans from solar radiation. The space engineering teams will also build security for rockets and satellites in order to improve their longevity (Ostroverkh Y, 2020).
These predictions and possibilities can have a big impact on society. First and foremost, patients of cancer should have a higher likelihood of completing diagnosis, with a less intense diagnosis. For the country it would mean there will be a healthier overall public, less pressure on the doctors, government and consumers wouldn't need to invest too much. A drawback is that there could be adverse effects if the fungus has not been studied sufficiently, and it could be inappropriate to use it on people with cancer without further research.
According to the Cancer Council, UV overexposure leads to skin ageing and results in wrinkling and skin tone loss and elasticity loss. Radiation from UVA and UVB induces large amounts of reactive oxygen species (ROS), resulting in improvements in dermal connective tissue (collagen degradation etc.). Many noticeable symptoms of ageing are the result of skin harm induced by UV penetration (Cancer Council Australia, 2016).

Numbers are measured to the nearest integer. Highlighted months have an overall regular cumulative UV of less than 3, though rounding has otherwise rendered it seems. Source: Cancer Council Australia, 2016
The future of this discovery is driving towards the production of better health care facilities. Systems such as new-developed sunscreens, environmental-friendly solar panels, and for the cancer patients, less harmful chemotherapy that doesn't kill healthy cells (Intext) and safer MRI's and X-rays.
Cryptococcus neoformans’ capsule is the primary virulence element, which plays a vital function in this fungus’ biology. This fungus expands in the lung when inhaled, fails our immune systems and translocates through the brain, triggering meningitis. It is an example of the use of the SHE definition as it helps scientists to create findings, assess socio-economic and environmental effects, have objective reasons and make effective forecasts. Nevertheless, this technique also has numerous drawbacks, which are stated to be reduced by diligent analysis as well as future advancement as the work is still underway. Add-ons such as more analysis and ethical tests would boost its efficiency and enable this technology to progress further in the immediate future.

Reference list:


  1. Elsom J, 2020, Fungi that EATS radiation found thriving inside the Chernobyl nuclear reactor could be used like a 'sunblock' for humans to protect against deadly rays, Viewed 18 February 2020, <>
  2. Ivy Panda, 2019, The Chernobyl Disaster Case Study, Viewed 20 February 2020, <>
  3. Weisberger M, 2019, Is It Safe to Visit Chernobyl?, Viewed 20 February 2020, <>
  4. Rodrigues M. et al, 2017, Vesicular Polysaccharide Export in Cryptococcus neoformans Is a Eukaryotic Solution to the Problem of Fungal Trans-Cell Wall Transport, Viewed 21 February 2020, <>
  5. Ostroverkh Y, 2020, Chernobyl Radiation-Eating Fungi to Benefit Healthcare and Aerospace Projects, Viewed 23 February 2020, <>
  6. Cancer Council Australia, 2016, UV radiation, Viewed 26 February 2020, <>