Clara Chan/UC Berkeley
Acidophilic microbes thrive in this biofilm growing inside an abandoned mine at Iron Mountain, Calif. The microbes metabolism creates highly toxic acid mine drainage, a major environmental problem associated with the mining of coal and uranium.
Clara Chan/UC Berkeley
Close-up view of biofilm growing onto the water from the pyrite surface of the Richmond mine.
When humans gather in communities, they specialize and adapt. Farmers grow crops and raise animals for food based on the area’s climate and soil. Builders fashion structures engineered to keep their inhabitants warm in winter and cool in summer. Physicians tend to the sick; police and firefighters protect the public.
Communities of microorganisms, researchers are finding, exhibit very similar behavior – genetically evolving, specializing and cooperating in ways that allow them to adapt to extreme conditions of temperature, acidity, toxicity and pressure.
In the first comprehensive study of gene expression in a microbial community from an “extreme” natural environment, scientists from Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge national laboratories, the University of California, Berkeley, and Xavier University in New Orleans have identified more than 2,000 proteins produced by five key species in the community. More than 500 of the proteins – chains of amino acids linked together in an order specified by a gene’s DNA sequence – appear to be unique to the community, which thrives in hot, highly acidic conditions in an Environmental Protection Agency Superfund site at an abandoned mine at Iron Mountain, Calif. A report on the research, “Community Proteomics of a Natural Microbial Biofilm,” appears online today in Science Express.
Charlie Osolin | EurekAlert!
BigH1 -- The key histone for male fertility
14.12.2017 | Institute for Research in Biomedicine (IRB Barcelona)
Guardians of the Gate
14.12.2017 | Max-Planck-Institut für Biochemie
MPQ scientists achieve long storage times for photonic quantum bits which break the lower bound for direct teleportation in a global quantum network.
Concerning the development of quantum memories for the realization of global quantum networks, scientists of the Quantum Dynamics Division led by Professor...
Researchers have developed a water cloaking concept based on electromagnetic forces that could eliminate an object's wake, greatly reducing its drag while...
Tiny pores at a cell's entryway act as miniature bouncers, letting in some electrically charged atoms--ions--but blocking others. Operating as exquisitely sensitive filters, these "ion channels" play a critical role in biological functions such as muscle contraction and the firing of brain cells.
To rapidly transport the right ions through the cell membrane, the tiny channels rely on a complex interplay between the ions and surrounding molecules,...
The miniaturization of the current technology of storage media is hindered by fundamental limits of quantum mechanics. A new approach consists in using so-called spin-crossover molecules as the smallest possible storage unit. Similar to normal hard drives, these special molecules can save information via their magnetic state. A research team from Kiel University has now managed to successfully place a new class of spin-crossover molecules onto a surface and to improve the molecule’s storage capacity. The storage density of conventional hard drives could therefore theoretically be increased by more than one hundred fold. The study has been published in the scientific journal Nano Letters.
Over the past few years, the building blocks of storage media have gotten ever smaller. But further miniaturization of the current technology is hindered by...
With innovative experiments, researchers at the Helmholtz-Zentrums Geesthacht and the Technical University Hamburg unravel why tiny metallic structures are extremely strong
Light-weight and simultaneously strong – porous metallic nanomaterials promise interesting applications as, for instance, for future aeroplanes with enhanced...
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