Poison Eating Bacteria Changes Life As We Know It
A group of scientists working for NASA in California have discovered a bacteria unlike anything else previously known on earth.
“This discovery changes everything. The definition of life has just expanded”
Until last week, it was widely accepted that there were certainly building blocks for life, phosphorous being one of them, that all plants and animals share. This all changed, however, when in the waters of Mono Lake, California, a bacteria was discovered that uses poisonous arsenic as its life building block.
“This discovery changes everything. We don’t have to look for a planet that is like planet Earth to contain life any longer. The definition of life has just expanded” says NASA’s Ed Weiler.
There are other practical implications as well. Bacteria that feeds off arsenic could be used to clean up toxic waste. There’s also the possibility of arsenic based, rather than phosphorus based, alternative fuel ethanol.
NASA’s Wolfe Simon says this discovery changes a lot of commonly held concepts on how life is created. So now the search is on for other examples of organisms that use not only arsenic, but possibly other elements that were previously thought to be against the laws of nature.