Further Observations of a Possible Biological Alteration of Radioactive Decay
by Fungi:
Second Round Testing
N.A. Reiter
Dr. S.P. Faile
28 August, 2002
Background and Objective:
In early August, 2002, we conducted an initial experiment that appeared to indicate an alteration of the radioactive decay of thorium by a unique fungal culture. A second round of experiments was designed and performed, with further interesting results. An additional source of nuclear material was used - uranium in the form of uranyl acetate.
For this experiment, we use the same semi-dried fungal matrix (the S.P. Faile "Fort Hill" fungus) from our first round experiment. For detection of radiation, we once again use our Baird Atomic 916 lab Geiger counter. With voltage set for 900V, we confirm that the background count rate in the lab appeared to typically run between 10 and 30 CPM.
Our second experiment was again performed at our lab location in the Toledo, Ohio area. The ambient consisted of a typical air conditioned office / lab atmosphere, with typical temperature running about 24oC +/- 2oC.
Four 6 inch square plastic tubs were washed thoroughly with methanol, then dried. Room temperature unflavored soy milk was added to each, 150 ml worth. To the first tub, our control, an additional 20 ml of soy milk was added, along with 20 ml of a 1:1 solution of saturated thorium nitrate in distilled water, diluted with an equal volume of distilled water.
To the second tub, we add 20 ml of soy milk in which 1 gram of our semi-dried fungal matrix was minced and mixed. We then add 20 ml of the thorium nitrate:H2O solution.
Tub #3 is filled with an identical volume of soy milk as tub #1, however instead of the thorium nitrate, we add 20 ml of a 1:1 mixture of saturated uranyl acetate in distilled water, diluted with distilled water. This tub constituted out uranium containing control.
Tub #4 is prepared similarly to the cultured tub #2, except for the substitution of the uranyl acetate solution for the thorium nitrate.
All four of the control and cultured tubs were shaken to disperse the solutions. We note that within a few seconds, a slight curdling of the soy milk was seen in all tubs.
One difference in protocol was made, within this experiment. We start all tubs out with their plastic lids placed over them (non-sealed, but a more solid diffusion barrier than the paper towel covers used in the first experiment.)
The Geiger counter was used to take count rates for all tubs, beginning immediately after preparation, and then periodically for the next 14 days. This data was recorded, and is presented herein. Our readings were taken by holding the GM tube vertically over the soymilk solutions, at tub center and at tub corners. Max and min count rates were recorded. We also record our visual records of the physical properties for both cultured and control tubs.
Hours Tub1 Tub2 Tub3 Tub 4 Notes
(Th-control) (Th-culture) (U control) (U culture) All curdled
0 140-180 160-180 180-200 160-180
4 160-180 160-180 180-200 160-180
24 180-220 220-300 200-240 220-260
30 180-240 260-320 200-260 240-300
48 220-240 240-360 300-360 240-300 Still no mat formation ?replace lids w/ towels
72 220-260 280-400 420-500* 260-340 Green mat starting for #2 and #4
96 220-260 280-360 500-800 240-320
120 240-380 280-320 1000-1100 220-240
144 280-380 200-280 1000-1100 200-240
168 260-340 180-240 800-1000** 320-400 #3 still wet and jelly-like.
192 260-340 180-240 800-900 360-500***
216 300-360 280-320 800-900 320-440
240 280-340 240-280 700-900 380-480
264 240-320 240-280 700-900 360-440
264 320(max) 280(max) 900(max) 440(max) Add foil to GM tube aperture
Data notes: * Areas or colonies of "rogue" mold formed ? reddish brown blobs. **Reddish colonies look dead at this point. ***Secondary growth of a whitish mold forming.
From the raw data as well as plotted values, we find evidence of a potentially complex set of phenomena. In our first experiment, a clearly defined difference in radioactive decay rate with time was noted between cultured and non-cultured tubs. In this experiment, we again find drastic differences in performance, however the rising and falling of nuclear decay count rates seem to point to multiple influences. In general, however, we may be able to discern relationships in a clearer manner by comparing pairs of samples.If one compares Th tubs only, we find that the relationship between cultured and control seems to resemble results from our first experiment. For our cultured Th tub, CPM is seen to rise strongly, and faster than the control tub, peaking at a high count rate, then diminishing. Our control Th tub rises slowly for several days, until visible colonies of mold are seen to form on the soy milk. At this point in time, the CPM begins to rise abruptly, but then drops off at a slower rate after peaking.
If one compares the uranyl acetate doped culture with the Th doped culture, one also finds a similarity of curves at least for about the first 160 hours.
Later peaks and dips in CPM may need better explanation, however we do observe a likely correlation to the on-set of secondary fungi species.
The maverick component of this experiment is, without a doubt, tub #3, the uranyl acetate containing control tub. We find that the soaring CPM does correspond generally with the appearance of several "blob" or isolated colonies of a reddish brown mold. Following the death/darkening of these blobs, the whole surface of the soy milk became shiny with a clear gelatinous residue. SPF believes that the rogue reddish brown colonies were the Fort Hill fungus in a mutated form or different culture density.
Other observations abound. Special attention was paid to the distribution of min and max CPM readings in all tubs, however for the two "control" tubs, in which rogue fungi took hold, we find that the distribution of readings appeared to remain steady, and be stronger in the tub center, whether or not a fungal colony was growing over it or not. This hints at a fairly uniform distribution of the radioactive components in the soy milk matrix.
We also desired to try to isolate the primary emission product we were seeing. A simple test was performed in which we placed a single layer of heavy gauge kitchen aluminum foil over the Geiger Mueller tube aperture and took a second set of max CPM readings for each tub. All four readings remained un-changed, thus suggesting that the decay mode we are dealing with, at least in the later stages of the experiment, is primarily gamma or hard X-ray emission, as opposed to alpha decay or lower energy neutrons.
EDS Results:
At T+ 11 days, we procured small smear samples from the soy milk matrix near the center of each tub. These were dried under a heat lamp, and then placed into our scanning electron microscope for EDS analysis. Our intention was to identify any elemental species that could be construed as anomalous, or as possible transmutation products. To facilitate this, an EDS scan of dried plain soy milk was also taken as a control. We find:The soy milk control: high carbon peak, with modest peaks of O, P, K, Ca and Al (aluminum may be from SEM fixturing). Minor peaks for Na, Mg, Si, S, and Cl.
Tub #1 ? Th Control: In addition to the above components, we also see a Th peak and a possible very minor peak for Re.
Tub #2 ? Th Cultured: In addition to the soy milk components, we see a minor but apparently real peak for W, as well as a possible peak for Bi.
Tub #3 ? U Control: Most noticeable peak apart from the soy milk components and U is a peak that appears to correspond to Po ? of about equal magnitude as the Cl peak nearby. There may exist also a minor Hg peak.
Tub #4 ? U Cultured: Soy milk components, along with U. Also, a minor peak for Th, as well as a very minor peak for Re.
From these results, we find some preliminary but significant evidence for the appearance of daughter products and possible unpredicted transmutation.
See scans shown for each analysis.
From our second round results, we find further evidence for our basic premise - that the growth of a fungal culture in a matrix of soy milk containing a modest amount of radio-isotope appears to cause a modification of the measured nuclear decay rate of said doped matrix. Because of the difficulty involved with following the non-visible growth of molds and fungi in their early stages, we have incomplete correlation. However, there is little doubt that the effects seen in the second round of testing corroborate the main observations from the first round.
We also, in this round, have acquired some interesting EDS analysis that appears to show the development of new elemental peaks after eleven days of growth. In the case of the tub containing the most drastically altered decay rate, we find a signal for Po that appears to be of a significant level - about equal to the primary X-ray line for Cl.
In August, welcomed review of our first report brought to light a proposed artifact mechanism. It was suggested that nitrogen uptake by the fungi was being accompanied by an uptake of radon, which would otherwise normally diffuse away into the nearby atmosphere at a constant rate. Thus, the overall rate of radioactive emission would be seen to increase. We are still evaluating this idea, and need to find a better means to test it.
We are currently planning a third round of tests, focusing on either the Th or U compounds, but also looking at the effects of other types of fungi or bacteria.
We extend our thanks toward the technical correspondents who have contributed to this project thus far. Special thanks go to the faithful members of the Vortex on-line discussion group.