Research

Arsenic-breathing life forms found in the Pacific

There is a huge amount on Earthmicroorganisms that are able to survive in the most extreme conditions. Take, for example, a microbe recently discovered in the Pacific Ocean that lives by inhaling and exhaling arsenic. This chemical element is considered extremely toxic and carcinogenic, but this form of life was practically forced to breathe poison - there is very little oxygen under water, so adaptation was the only way to survive. Scientists have figured out how the germ turns poison into a vital element.

Researchers believe that microorganismsgot resistant to poisonous substances millions of years ago, when there was really little oxygen on the planet. The fact that tiny creatures are still able to breathe them suggests that they will be able to survive even with climatic changes that are fatal to humans.

Creatures breathing toxic substances werefound in the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Mexico. This region is considered oxygen-free, but there is some arsenic in it. During the study of the DNA of microorganisms, researchers have identified a genetic method for the conversion of arsenic molecules into energy necessary to sustain life. We are talking about the conversion of salts of arsenic acid into arsenite - oxygen-containing ions of arsenic.

This chemical reaction may well be the basisliving on other planets where there is not enough oxygen. In addition to arsenic, microorganisms can breathe sulfur and nitrogen - researchers will have to conduct laboratory experiments in order to study more closely the processes occurring inside them.

Not resistant to harmful substancesonly oceanic microbes, but also huge predators. For example, white sharks feel great even with a high content of heavy metals in the blood - this can be read in our material.

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