Found a microorganism, eating only fallen meteorites

Scientists have discovered unusual features of microbes Metallosphaera sedula, which inclined to the use of rare minerals. It turned out that the granite and chalk — it’s not something that eat these microorganisms. As lunch they eat much more exotic stonesthat fall on our planet of infinite space. Unusual “taste” preferences thermoacidophilic of archaebacteria not only suggestive of how life on earth can survive outside our planet, but also gives an idea about how living organisms at the initial stage of its development could obtain key nutrients from the space rocksthat fell to our Earth several billion years ago.

Scientists suggest that life on Earth would never have formed, if not trapped on the planet meteorites

What to eat bacteria?

Many believe that it fell to the ground of the body of cosmic origin are the source of many rare elements, such as phosphorus and silicon, not to mention much more complex compounds of organic origin. As mentioned in the report, which was published in the journal Nature.comthe international team of scientists tried to find out, could some organisms specifically to develop the ability to use as food rather rare mixture of minerals.

At the moment, biologists are already known organisms for which the main source of energy are oxidation-reduction reactions using inorganic compounds, for example, stones. Such organisms are called chemolithotrophs. For science it is no secret that in nature there are bacteria such as Leptospirillum ferrooxidans and Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans, which can oxidize the iron in meteorites.

In order to find and to determine the species of a microbe which is able to use a meteorite as something more than just a garnish, a team of scientists decided to use thermoacidophile that can easily cope with high temperature and low pH. By the way, that these microorganisms are presumably able to survive in the Martian soil.

M. Sedula has long attracted the attention of scientists for their specific characteristics, because these microorganisms are able to remove iron sulfide from coal

In order to determine whether or not M. Sedula are able to eat space rocks, scientists needed to find him a suitable source of “food” that contains the optimal combination of metals and space for further feeding and growth. Experts opted for a meteorite stony type, called NWA 1172. The stone, weighing about 120 kg, was discovered in 2000.

See also: the meteorite was discovered unknown in nature, the mineral

Sterile plates of the meteorite was subjected to study using microscopy and analysis of released metal ions, which are secreted by microbes during their direct interaction with stone. As a comparison, in the same microbial culture was served chopped-up samples of chalcopyrite. As a result of the experiment revealed that some microorganisms are indeed able to adapt to your new diet, catalyzing chemical reactions and reducing the toxicity of food. Finding such an unusual ability of microorganisms can speak about the fact that some species are able to survive extremes of interplanetary vacuum and move along with the alien rocky bodies, periodically “leaving” on different planets. Perhaps one day he happened to Land.

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