Bacterial electricity and electric ecologies

The lead…

The world’s deep seafloors are dark and airless places, but vast swaths may pulse gently with energy conducted through a type of newly discovered bacteria that forms living electrical cables.

orange strands of the new Desulfobulbaceae stretch in a laboratory beaker between a reddish, oxygen-rich sediment layer and a dark, sulfurous, oxygen-depleted layer. via Nils Risgaard-Petersen

The possibilities…

With so much electricity being transferred, are other organisms tapping the lines? Might the Desulfobulbaceae be a power source for entire as-yet-unappreciated deep-sea microbial ecologies, which in turn shape some of the planet’s fundamental biogeochemical processes? That’s “an interesting possibility,” said Nielsen, but it’s still speculation.

More via Wired Science here

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