#Astrobiology, #Electrochemistry: Yes! These are #Scientific Fields of Study


If you have any interest in #microbiology, #astrobiology, #electrochemistry, #alien life, general #science, check out these excerpts and then read the entire article.

MIND BLOWN! Amazing scientists! Excellent article. I LOVE THIS!

Electric Bacteria
image from http://www.bibliotecapleyades.net

Dr. Shelley Minteer, Ph.D., electrochemist, University of Utah

Shelley Minteer

discovered that mitochondria—–the power-generating units inside the cells of all complex cellular organisms, including humans—–can interact electrically with surfaces outside themselves. That fits with a well-accepted theory that mitochondria evolved as free-living bacteria that later merged with other cells, forming a permanent partnership. Even after a billion years, mitochondria may retain some of the capabilities they had in their days of independence. It is possible, then, that we all have a smidgen of electric alien behavior locked away inside us.

Dr. Kenneth Nealson, Ph.D., University of Southern California

kenneth-nealson

discovered that Shewanella oneidensis can deposit electrons directly on minerals—”breathing” a solid substance—via tiny chemical wires.

Shewanella
image from techportal.eere.energy.gov

Dr. Annette Rowe, Ph.D., a postdoc researcher in Nealson’s group, ‘… isolated a whole slew of electrode-oxidizing bugs,” she says—roughly a thousand strains in total. So far, she’s identified 30 of them, all previously unknown….Six of Rowe’s new bacterial strains can live on electrons alone.”

“The vast majority of Rowe’s strains must be grown on a cathode, not in a petri dish. And they indicate an immense and largely alien ecosystem here on Earth. The National Science Foundation calls it the ‘dark energy biosphere’ and is funding Rowe to learn more about this parallel microbial universe.”

Because Geobacter metallireducens can eat waste and produce electricity, the bacteria could prove useful in microbial fuel cells.

Dr. Moh El-Naggar, Ph.D., also at USC, created a series of videos showing

electric nanowires stretch from the outer membranes of Shewanella oneidensis bacteria….[H]e [shot] a series of mind-boggling movies in which you can watch Shewanella reach out to an electrode in search of a place to deposit electrons. Sometimes the bacteria will link up with one another, possibly fobbing off electrons on cells that are able to accept them. [link to one video in original article, below]

moh-el-neggar

How does this all fit together? Maybe this helps you….

Astrobiology chart
image from http://astrobiology.nasa.gov

Or, just enjoy this:

cartoon of geobacters at work
image from http://biobasedpod.blogspot.com

The article’s author wrote: “Their Earth seems to be a world built on cooperation and sharing, a far cry from the more familiar world of cutthroat Darwinian competition. ‘Unless I miss my bet, that’s what we’re going to see when we get to the subsurface: little pockets of life with a socialist community, all working there together. But I won’t tell that to my Republican father because he won’t like it,’ Nealson says.”

Inspired by and drawn from HAVE WE FOUND ALIEN LIFE? MICROBES THAT EAT AND BREATHE ELECTRICITY HAVE FORCED SCIENTISTS TO REIMAGINE HOW LIFE WORKS—ON THIS PLANET AND OTHERS, by Corey S. Powell, in February, 2015, Popular Science, pages 32-39 http://www.popsci.com/have-we-found-alien-life

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