Griezelig buitenaards leven. Op aarde.

Twee citaten om te lezen. Ik vond ze wereldschokkend, omdat ze gaan over iets waarvan wij dachten het te begrijpen: leven heeft voedsel nodig. Maar dat pure energie voedsel kan zijn… voor mij is dat, zoals The New Scientist schreef, iets buitenaards. Toch gebeurt het hier. Om ons heen.

Griezelig?
Een fundamenteel ontregelende ontdekking?

Meet the electric life forms that live on pure energy – life – 16 July 2014 – New Scientist

Unlike any other life on Earth, these extraordinary bacteria use energy in its purest form – they eat and breathe electrons – and they are everywhere

STICK an electrode in the ground, pump electrons down it, and they will come: living cells that eat electricity. We have known bacteria to survive on a variety of energy sources, but none as weird as this. Think of Frankenstein’s monster, brought to life by galvanic energy, except these “electric bacteria” are very real and are popping up all over the place.

Unlike any other living thing on Earth, electric bacteria use energy in its purest form – naked electricity in the shape of electrons harvested from rocks and metals. We already knew about two types, Shewanella and Geobacter. Now, biologists are showing that they can entice many more out of rocks and marine mud by tempting them with a bit of electrical juice. Experiments growing bacteria on battery electrodes demonstrate that these novel, mind-boggling forms of life are essentially eating and excreting electricity.

(…)

The discovery of electric bacteria shows that some very basic forms of life can do away with sugary middlemen and handle the energy in its purest form – electrons, harvested from the surface of minerals. “It is truly foreign, you know,” says Nealson. “In a sense, alien.”

Nealson’s team is one of a handful that is now growing these bacteria directly on electrodes, keeping them alive with electricity and nothing else – neither sugars nor any other kind of nutrient. The highly dangerous equivalent in humans, he says, would be for us to power up by shoving our fingers in a DC electrical socket.

En?

Vooral zelf verder lezen. Hier.

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