Monday, April 30, 2007

Just can't escape those darn Extremophiles

Those pesky, tough-as-nails microbes known as extremophiles have their own interactive website now. The National Science Foundation (NSF) has recently launched an information-filled, multimedia site dedicated to these amazing lifeforms. The site covers some of the standard extreme living conditions (extreme cold, extreme heat, extreme acidity, etc), but also touches upon some critters I had no idea existed - the "radiation eaters". Apparently there are some relatively newly-discovered bacteria that get there energy from the byproducts of the radioactive decay of uranium and other radioactive elements. Yup, their metabolism requires radioactive materials. Doc Brown would be so excited. They're found 2 miles or so below ground, far, far from the "life-giving" rays of the sun, much like their deep-sea hydrothermal vent brethren.

For more about the "radiation-eaters" and other extremophiles, check out the NSF's site:

X-treme Microbes

1 comment:

rexacrouch said...

But here is a cool primer paper I found on Extremophiles.