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Microorganisms in parched regions extract needed water from colonized rocks

ScienceDaily (May 4, 2020 )

Titre : Microorganisms in parched regions extract needed water from colonized rocks

Long-suspected survival strategy demonstrated

ScienceDaily (May 4, 2020 )

Résumé
Cyanobacteria living in rocks in Chile’s Atacama Desert extract water from the minerals they colonize and, in doing so, change the phase of the material from gypsum to anhydrite. Researchers gained verification of this process through experiments, and the work points to possible strategies for humans to stay hydrated in harsh environments.

Descriptif
"The Army Research Office funded this project because they want to understand how organisms can survive in extreme environments," said lead author David Kisailus, UCI professor of materials science & engineering. "They also wanted us to help translate that to enabling humans to cope with the harshest of conditions, whether it be out in the middle of the desert or while exploring other planets."

The research team focused on the interactions of Chroococcidiopsis, a desiccation-resistant cyanobacteria found in deserts around the world, and gypsum, a water-containing calcium sulfate-based mineral. The colonizing life-forms exist beneath a thin layer of rock that gives them a measure of protection against the Atacama’s high solar irradiance, extreme dryness and battering winds.

Story Source  : University of California – Irvine

Annonce (ScienceDaily)

Page publiée le 22 juin 2021