On Earth there are a huge number of microorganisms that can survive in the most extreme conditions. Take, for example, recently discovered in the Pacific ocean microbe that lives through the inhalation and exhalation of arsenic. This chemical element is considered highly toxic and carcinogenic, but this form of life was almost forced to breathe poison — under water, very little oxygen, so the adaptation was the only way to survive. Scientists have discovered how a microbe turns the poison into a vital element.
Researchers believe that microorganisms have got a resistance to poisonous substances millions of years ago, when the planet was really little oxygen. That tiny establishment is still able to breathe them, suggests that they can survive even when fatal to humans climate change.
Creatures breathing the poisonous substances were found in the Pacific ocean off the coast of Mexico. This region is considered anoxic, but there is a certain amount of arsenic. In the course of studying the DNA of microorganisms, researchers have identified a genetic method of transformation of molecules of arsenic in the energy needed to sustain life. We are talking about the conversion of salts of arsenic acid in arsenite — oxygen-containing ions of arsenic.
This chemical reaction could be the basis of life on other planets, where there is not enough oxygen. In addition to arsenic, micro-organisms can breathe sulfur and nitrogen — researchers have to conduct laboratory experiments to carefully study what is happening inside them.
Special resistance to harmful substances have not only ocean microbes, but a giant predator. For example, white sharks feel great even at high content of heavy metals in the blood — you can read about it in our material.
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