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Bacteria Have Metabolism 1 Millions of Times Slower, Eating Century-Old Foods




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Imagine having a metabolism 1 million times slower than anyone else. This is the truth for bacteria living in sediments under deep oceans and rivers divide every 10 to 10,000 years. Compare that to the aged lab of microbes that thrive in an environment rich in all the nutrients needed for growth, such as Escherichia coli, which can be divided into as little as 20 minutes

Dead, organic detritus that sank down to sea and estuarine carbon-locked sediments. In fact, about half of Organic carbon burials around the world occur in estuaries and river delta systems. But the mechanisms that control how much carbon is buried instead of released into the atmosphere before as carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, have never been well understood.

An upcoming study by researchers from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the University of Texas-Austin and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill reveals microbes living in deep sediments estaurine, or the subsurface, consumes food that is hundreds of years old and of poor quality.

Researchers analyzed sediment cores from the White Oak River in North Carolina. The cores cover approximately 275 years of subsurface submerged material. They found that the deeper the microbes in the core, the slower they broke the food, with a 1000-fold difference between the microbes at the top compared to the bottom of the sediment core.

Germs can use enzymes to break down hundreds of centuries of protein and carbohydrates. The subsurface microbes are well adapted to where they live and what they should eat.

In addition to eating old, poor quality foods, the subsurface bacteria tend to have many genes for DNA repair and spore formation, which is a subsurface survival mechanism. Spore formation enables the bacteria to become dormant and anticipate difficult conditions.

"Our work shows that microbes live the same way that other microbes do, just slower and have a better ability to eat low quality food in their environment," says Dr. Andrew Steen, who led the study .

Understanding how microbes can thrive on low quality resources can uncover how in slow metabolism in human organs so they can survive longer during transplants. Equally important is a better understanding of how and where carbon is stored, which can protect us from self-sustaining climate change cycles.

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Imagine having a metabolism 1 million times slower than anyone else's. The reality for bacteria living in sediments under deep oceans and rivers. These microbes are divides only every 10 to 10,000 years. Compare that to lab-grown microbes emerging in an environment rich in all the nutrients needed for growth, such as Escherichia coli, which can be divided into as little as 20 minutes.

Dead, organic detritus that sinks into the sea and estuarine sediment lock off carbon. In fact, almost half of the organic carbon burial is g world occurs in estuaries and river delta systems. But the mechanisms that control how much carbon is buried rather than released into the atmosphere as carbon dioxide, a greenhouse gas, are still poorly understood.

An upcoming study by researchers from the University of Tennessee, Knoxville, the University of Texas-Austin and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has found microbes living in deep estaurine sediments, or the subsurface, consumes food that is hundreds of years old and of poor quality.

Researchers analyzed sediment cores from the White Oak River in North Carolina. The cores cover approximately 275 years of subsurface submerged material. They found that the deeper the microbes in the core, the slower they broke the food, with a 1000-fold difference between the microbes at the top compared to the bottom of the sediment core.

Germs can use enzymes to break down hundreds of centuries of protein and carbohydrates. The subsurface microbes are well adapted to where they live and what they should eat.

In addition to eating old, poor quality foods, the subsurface bacteria tend to have many genes for DNA repair and spore formation, which is a subsurface survival mechanism. Spore formation enables the bacteria to become dormant and anticipate difficult conditions.


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