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Electric metabolism - Printable Version

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Electric metabolism - CCostello - 08-08-2014

This is the first I'm hearing of bacteria that can survive on electricity alone. Perhaps, this can be used as a basis for some interesting, new xeno-lifeforms. Share your thoughts. Cheers,

RE: Electric metabolism - iancampbell - 08-08-2014

There is a school of thought that the very beginnings of life were connected with the potential and proton-concentration gradients that form in micropores around deep-sea black smokers. Which means that the most primitive of life processes (before any genetic material develops, even) are essentially electrical.

I'd like to extend this thought. There are many energy sources that aren't exploited much by life forms - at least, as far as we know. One energy source that comes to mind is ionising radiation, which ought to be plentiful on young planets or around hot stars.

RE: Electric metabolism - stevebowers - 08-08-2014

Trouble with ionising radiation is that it has a randomising, denaturing effect- if you have a nice, complex, fragile protein or other organic molecule the radiation can disrupt it, sending your biochemistry back to a more primitive level. I wouldn't say its impossible, just tricky.

RE: Electric metabolism - Dalex - 08-08-2014

Meet my friend: Cryptococcus Neoformans. "Radiation eating fungus."