Wednesday, August 20, 2014

This discovery gives hope for extraterrestrial life

Isolated in their aqueous capsule, living things are bathed in oil phase where they draw nutrients and metabolites useful for their development. The reaction thus localizes longer just on the lake bottom, where meet tar and natural waters, as previously thought researchers.

Other bacteria, extremophiles qualified, live in inhospitable environments. Here hydrothermal vents hundreds of meters below the ocean, no light, no oxygen at high temperatures and in the presence of acid fluid and metal, are colonized by thermophilic bacteria.  © P. Rona, Wikimedia Commons

This discovery gives hope for extraterrestrial life

"The degradation changes the chemical composition of mineral oil and leads to the formation of viscous bitumen, such as sands oil ultimately  explains Professor Rainer Meckenstock, lead author of the study. Our data thus provide important information the quality of the asphalt and are therefore essential for the industry of what remains the world's largest energy source. "

The results could be used by oil companies in their strategy to limit the biodegradation of oil fields , avoiding the formation of microdroplets of water during drilling, among others.

In addition, capacity degradation of chemical compounds in oil by these micro-organisms could be very useful for the remediation of water contaminated groundwater, for example, by a ruptured pipeline .

According to co-author Dirk Schulze-Makuch study, an astrobiologist at the University of Washington, Pullman, United States, life in such toxic condition suggests that it may exist in lakes hydrocarbon moon Titan of Saturn where methane and ethane could mix with groundwater.

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