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Strauss's avatar

Is this really a newly found life form (see details)

Asked by Strauss (21177points) January 22nd, 2015

Microbes that eat and breathe electricity have forced scientists to reimagine how life works—on this planet and others! This headline caught my eye. Apparently, this Dr. Kenneth Nealson has discovered that Shewanella oneidensis can deposit electrons directly on minerals—“breathing” a solid substance—via tiny chemical wires!

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5 Answers

janbb's avatar

I can’t assess the science of this but i just love it that we are still discovering new and exciting things. We need to keep that grant money flowing.

gondwanalon's avatar

Very exciting if these bacteria can live and grow by using only electrons.

The aspect that a bacteria can exclusively use electrons to live and grow is hard to understand. Perhaps these bacteria utilize CO2 from the air as a carbon source? Perhaps these bacteria also use other chemicals and contaminants in the air: N2, Ar, CH4, He, Kr, H2, Xe, I2, etc.?

There are well known bacteria that utilize hydrogen as an energy source. Generally called “Hydrogen Bacteria” (more than one species). But they also need to use minerals and CO2 to live. They live in mostly an anaerobic mud environment.

janbb's avatar

@gondwanalon I did read about hose mud dwelling bacteria and that they found a way to grow them in the lab and might be able to use them to develop new antibiotics.

RocketGuy's avatar

The article shows that they have done a lot of work to confirm. Impressive.

ibstubro's avatar

I thought perhaps your question would refer to this.

Both very cool stuff.

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