Meteorite-loving microorganism

December 03, 2019

Chemolithotrophic microorganisms derive their energy from inorganic sources. Research into the physiological processes of these organisms - which are grown on meteorite - provides new insights into the potential of extraterrestrial materials as a source of accessible nutrients and energy for microorganisms of the early Earth. Meteorites may have delivered a variety of essential compounds facilitating the evolution of life, as we know it on Earth.

An international team around astrobiologist Tetyana Milojevic from the University of Vienna explored the physiology and metal-microbial interface of the extreme metallophilic archaeon Metallosphaera sedula, living on and interacting with extraterrestrial material, meteorite Northwest Africa 1172 (NWA 1172). Assessing the biogenicity based on extraterrestrial materials provides a valuable source of information for exploring the putative extraterrestrial bioinorganic chemistry that might have occurred in the Solar System.

Archaeon prefers meteorites

Cells of M. sedula rapidly colonize the meteoritic material, much faster than the minerals of terrestrial origin. "Meteorite-fitness seems to be more beneficial for this ancient microorganism than a diet on terrestrial mineral sources. NWA 1172 is a multimetallic material, which may provide much more trace metals to facilitate metabolic activity and microbial growth. Moreover, the porosity of NWA 1172 might also reflect the superior growth rate of M. sedula", says Tetyana Milojevic.

Investigations on nanometer scale

The scientists traced the trafficking of meteorite inorganic constituents into a microbial cell and investigated iron redox behavior. They analyzed the meteorite-microbial interface at nanometer scale spatial resolution. Combining several analytical spectroscopy techniques with transmission electron microscopy, the researchers revealed a set of biogeochemical fingerprints left upon M. sedula growth on the NWA 1172 meteorite. "Our investigations validate the ability of M. sedula to perform the biotransformation of meteorite minerals, unravel microbial fingerprints left on meteorite material, and provide the next step towards an understanding of meteorite biogeochemistry", concludes Milojevic.
-end-
Publication in Scientific Reports

Tetyana Milojevic, Denise Kölbl, Ludovic Ferrière, Mihaela Albu, Adrienne Kish, Roberta Flemming, Christian Koeberl, Amir Blazevic, Ziga Zebec, Simon Rittmann, Christa Schleper, Marc Pignitter, Veronika Somoza, Mario Schimak, and Alexandra Rupert (2019) Exploring the microbial biotransformation of extraterrestrial material on nanometer scale. Sci. rep.

DOI 10.1038/s41598-019-54482-7

University of Vienna

Related Microorganisms Articles from Brightsurf:

A more resistant material against microorganisms is created to restore cultural heritage
The study was performed by a research team at the University Research Institute into Fine Chemistry and Nanochemistry at the University of Cordoba and Seville's Institute of Natural Resources and Agrobiology of the Spanish National Research Council

NYUAD study finds gene targets to combat microorganisms binding to underwater surfaces
A group of synthetic biologists at NYU Abu Dhabi (NYUAD) have identified new genetic targets that could lead to safe, biologically-based approaches to combat marine biofouling - the process of sea-based microorganisms, plants, or algae binding to underwater surfaces.

Less flocking behavior among microorganisms reduces the risk of being eaten
When algae and bacteria with different swimming gaits gather in large groups, their flocking behaviour diminishes, something that may reduce the risk of falling victim to aquatic predators.

Are vultures spreaders of microbes that put human health at risk?
A new analysis published in IBIS examines whether bacteria, viruses, and other microorganisms that are present in wild vultures cause disease in the birds, and whether vultures play a role in spreading or preventing infectious diseases to humans and other animal species.

Timing key in understanding plant microbiomes
Oregon State University researchers have made a key advance in understanding how timing impacts the way microorganisms colonize plants, a step that could provide farmers an important tool to boost agricultural production.

Advances in the production of minor ginsenosides using microorganisms and their enzymes
Advances in the Production of Minor Ginsenosides Using Microorganisms and Their Enzymes - BIO Integration https://bio-integration.org/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/bioi20200007.pdf Announcing a new article publication for BIO Integration journal.

Study shows how microorganisms survive in harsh environments
In northern Chile's Atacama Desert, one of the driest places on Earth, microorganisms are able to eke out an existence by extracting water from the rocks they colonize.

Microorganisms in parched regions extract needed water from colonized rocks
Cyanobacteria living in rocks in Chile's Atacama Desert extract water from the minerals they colonize and, in doing so, change the phase of the material from gypsum to anhydrite.

Verticillium wilt fungus killing millions of trees is actually an army of microorganisms
A research project studied the microbiome of olive tree roots and concluded that Verticillium wilt is fueled by a community of microorganisms that team up to attack plants, thus reassessing the way this problem is dealt with

New drug formulation could treat Candida infections
With antimicrobial resistance (AMR) increasing around the world, new research led by the University of Bristol has shown a new drug formulation could possibly be used in antifungal treatments against Candida infections.

Read More: Microorganisms News and Microorganisms Current Events
Brightsurf.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com.