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Originally posted by steveknows
Originally posted by Areyoupeopleinsane
I'm surprised by the immaturity of your responses to the article. Is this something to be expected from you?
Perhaps the better synopsis is that we may have discovered an organism capable of withstanding high levels of radiation. We can then endeavor to determine by what mechanism it obtains this capability and perhaps use it to treat radiation sickness, and or adapt our bodies to better withstand the effects of radiation.
But hoping the containment facilities are sufficient to prevent a zombie attack is ludicrous at best.
Alot of organisms can handle high levels of radiation. It's not a biggy.
Originally posted by kosmicjack
Oh good Lord! Why did it have to be in Georgia?
The strings of nanowires, called pili, allow the bacteria to get rid of electrons that are a byproduct of its digestive process. Humans and animals get rid of electrons through breathing, according to Mark Tuominen, professor of physics at UMass and lead author of the paper. But bacteria living in anaerobic zones don't have oxygen to carry the electrons. Each one of these spaghetti-like strands is 10 to 20 times longer than the bacteria itself, according to Tuominen
Bacteria can clean up toxins, oil spills and nuclear waste, essentially by eating the stuff. But until now nobody was quite sure how they did it. Gemma Reguera and her team at Michigan State University found that the key is a structure called the pilus, a hair-like appendage that acts like a wire.
The bacteria, called Geobacter sulfurreducens, transfer electrons via the pilus to the metals that they feed off of. Transferring the electrons gives the bacteria energy. It also changes the ionization state of the metal, changing it to a form that precipitates out of water. A colony of Geobacter living near a pile of nuclear waste would extract the uranium, making it easier to handle and remove.
Originally posted by Echotebarknwhale
Amazing! Cant wait to find out what this stuff is. Sounds like something right out of a comic book. What are your thoughts/opinions? If it was an organism, maybe we could figure out some way to use these as radiation shields in space or in plant meltdowns since they seem to be resistant to radiation
(visit the link for the full news article)
The safety board's report claimed that the initial sample of the growth was too small to characterize, and that "further evaluation still needs to be completed."
I don't know what's more intriguing — the fact that the "growth" resembles a spider web, the fact that it may be biological in nature, or the fact that (even after collecting a sample of the stuff) we still don't know what it is or where it came from.
We've already tried getting in touch with both the Savannah River Site as well as the Defense Nuclear Facilities Safety Board, but so far have been unable to speak with anybody to ask additional questions about the growth and where it's occurring specifically.
Full sizeCould we be dealing with an unknown species of extremophile? It's possible — the Savannah River Site's storage facility (The L Area Complex mentioned above) stores spent nuclear waste in pools that are anywhere from 17-30 feet deep, and while that water is enough to protect the site's workers from radiation, the growth was reportedly found underwater on the submerged fuel assemblies themselves.
Having said that, we're still not clear on how much, if any, radiation this growth has actually been exposed to. Organisms with a natural resistance to radiation are said to be "radioresistant," and certainly do exist; Deinococcus radiodurans, for example (pictured here) is not only one of the most naturally radioresistant organisms on Earth, we've actually genetically engineered Deinococcus that can be used in the treatment of radioactive waste.
Nuclear spiders? Ninja turtles?
No, but seriously, that is pretty amazing. I would say that slightly ups the chances of microbial extraterrestrial life, been finding bacteria in the craziest places recently, I wonder if we'll eventually find bacteria thriving on other local planets/moons and such.
I would be a bit careful about this # though, all jokes about Ninja turtles aside, radioactivity is known to pervert and mutate DNA rather chaotically has it not? It would be shame for the world to end in a flurry of radioactive bacteria that out competes everything else, but I guess Earth life would live on one way or another, intelligent or not.
Not that it is intelligent now.