Mystery microbe

Antarctic salt-loving microbes provide insights into evolution of viruses August 21, UNSW Sydney scientists studying microbes from some of the saltiest lakes in Antarctica have discovered a new way that the microbes can share DNA that could help them grow and survive. Methane-eating microbes may reduce release of gases as Antarctic ice sheets melt July 31, Lurking in a lake half a mile beneath Antarctica's icy surface, methane-eating microbes may mitigate the release of this greenhouse gas into the atmosphere as ice sheets retreat. How do atmospheric shifts affect soil-dwelling microbes?

Mystery microbe

Mystery microbes of the sea What gobbles up millions of tons of poisonous ammonia each year, making the water safe for fish? Douglas Fox Sep 26, — But Santoro kept one important item close as she drove across the country. It was a plastic cooler.

Four square bottles sat inside, each wrapped in tinfoil. The seawater that sloshed around in them contained millions of mysterious microbes. Santoro had scooped up the waterborne microbes a year earlier while cruising the Pacific Ocean.

They were in the water that Mystery microbe sampled as part of the research for her Ph.

Mystery microbe

The two-week cruise had been her first time at sea. And she had worked nonstop, hardly sleeping. Once back home, Santoro shoved the four bottles of seawater into her refrigerator, behind the milk. Then she collapsed and took a nap.

And those bottles remained in the fridge, untouched, until Santoro finally drove across country the next year. Mystery microbe treated each bottle with great care. Every night, for instance, they stayed in her hotel room as she slept along with several delicate orchid plants that she had coaxed into blooming.

Santoro believed that the answer lay with special microbes, called archaea ar KEE ah. Biologists find archaea a true curiosity. The two better known branches are bacteria and eukaryotes u KARE ee oatz. That last branch includes animals, plants and fungi.

But archaea have remained mysterious.

Mystery microbe

Very little is known about them. Yet if Santoro was right, these mysterious archaea did a huge job — mopping up a waste that would otherwise poison large ocean species.

As they rot, they give off a stinky gas called ammonia NH3. The same chemical is a familiar problem to anyone who keeps pet fish. For 50 years, biologists have puzzled over what might be removing it. They assumed microbes must play a role. After all, the oceans contain millions of different types.

Yet only a few of them would eat ammonia. Santoro was among those hunting for the helpful mystery microbe. She believed that some unknown archaea species must gobble up ammonia as quickly as it forms.

And it must convert that ammonia into other chemicals. These same archaea, Santoro reasoned, might even lie at the center of a second mystery — the source of huge quantities of a gas called nitrous oxide N2O.

Entering the atmosphere, it acts as a potent greenhouse gas. Gram for gram, nitrous oxide absorbs more sunlight — and heats the atmosphere much more strongly — than does carbon dioxide.

No one knew what life-form was behind all of this nitrous oxide. All biologists knew was that this gas carried a strange chemical signature. Just as with the ammonia-gobbling microbe, whatever organism was producing nitrous oxide also was unknown to science.

Santoro believed that an unknown type of archaea was behind both mysteries. It was gobbling up ammonia and belching out vast amounts of nitrous oxide. Despite the mystery surrounding it, this microbe might be one of the most common life-forms on Earth. Yet for many years, biologists could not study it.

They simply could not get it to grow in the lab. Hard to grow Suppose you have an unknown seed.Mystery Microbe Project Title: To identify Mystery Microbe #_ using a system of identification tests, including: API20E Enterobacteriaceae Identification system, Bergey’s Manual of Determinative Bacteriology, identification flow charts, and experimentation log sheets.

The researchers studied the microbial DNA in the surface soil from both sites and reconstructed the genomes of 23 of the microbes that lived there, including some of the first genomes of two groups of previously unknown bacteria called WPS-2 and AD3.

INSIDE each one of us lies a mystery. An analysis of genes from the human gut has found DNA so unusual it could belong to microbes unlike anything that science has encountered before. Life as we know it is split into three major groups or domains.

Plants, animals and fungi are all classed as eukaryotes, whose defining feature is their nucleus. May 30,  · Watch video · Instead, anything living is probably microbial, an analog to bacteria on Earth.

Astronauts Identify Mystery Microbes in Space for the 1st Time

“Simple life,” Phillips says. Detecting it, however, is stunningly complex. The robotic probe Europa Clipper will launch in the ’s; NASA has scheduled up to 45 flybys.

NASA astronauts successfully sequenced the DNA of microbes found aboard the International Space Station, marking the first time unknown organisms were sequenced and identified entirely in space. We have been missing a large number of the microbes that live in our body, and we have no idea how they affect our health.

In recent years, we have come to understand that our microbiomes – the microbes that live in our guts and elsewhere – may affect everything from armpit smell to obesity.

Mystery microbes of the sea | Science News for Students