Two strains of bacteria team up, thrive on limited resources

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In a discovery that further demonstrates just how unexpected and unusual nature can be, scientists have found two strains of bacteria whose symbiotic relationship is unlike anything seen before.


Long, thin, hairlike Thioploca (meaning "sulfur braids" in Spanish) trichomes form chains down into marine sediment, which tiny Anammox cells ride down like an elevator. At the bottom, the Anammox cells consume nitrite and ammonium, or "fixed" nitrogen, the waste products of the Thioploca.

Why is this research important to astrobiology?

One goal of NASA's Astrobiology Program is to understand the limits and constraints on life in extreme environments, and the strategies some organisms use to survive such extremes—providing a critical foundation for the search for life beyond Earth.

The research was conducted off the coast of Baja California, in the anoxic sediments of the Soledad basin at the Mexican Pacific margin. There, bacteria species like Thioploca and Anammox must solve critical challenges.

Written By: Johnny Bontemps
continue to source article at phys.org

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  1. I don’t like reading language like “strategies” and “solve critical challenges”; it makes it sound intentional. Chemical bonds that can occur must occur when the environment is right for them to do so, there is no alternative. As long as chemical bonds occur they may occur in complex form. They may even become complex enough to be considered life. That they interact in this way is interesting but I’m not sure why it is unexpected. What is expected?

  2. The research was conducted off the coast of Baja California, in the anoxic sediments of the Soledad basin at the Mexican Pacific margin. There, bacteria species like Thioploca and Anammox must solve critical challenges.

    Earth life has shown that it can evolve to exploit pretty well any environment in which there is energy to be exploited – from anoxic sea-beds, to volcanic pools, hydrothermal vents, or polar ice.

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