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Extremeophiles and Extreme Environments: July 2020


For decades, scientists have gathered ancient sediment samples from below the seafloor to better understand past climates, plate tectonics and the deep marine ecosystem. In a new study published in Nature Communications, researchers reveal that given the right food in the right laboratory conditions, microbes collected from sediment as old as 100 million years can revive and multiply, even after laying dormant since large dinosaurs prowled the planet.

When the Shewanella oneidensis bacterium "breathes" in certain metal and sulfur compounds anaerobically, the way an aerobic organism would process oxygen, it produces materials that could be used to enhance electronics, electrochemical energy storage, and drug-delivery devices.

Living under a translucent rock can be quite comfortable -- if you're a moss in the Mojave Desert.

Microbial life is known to survive in all sorts of extreme environments by going into a dormant state. Could they have survived long trips around our galaxy to seed life on Earth? Astrobiologist Nicol Caplin talks extreme life in this episode of Meet The Experts.

Caltech microbiologists have discovered bacteria that feed on manganese and use the metal as their source of calories. Such microbes were predicted to exist over a century ago, but none had been found or described until now.