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Community will viruses  fungi and bacteria save us globally | Upload General

Will Viruses, Fungi And Bacteria Save Us Globally

by: Sharai Hoekema
will viruses  fungi and bacteria save us globally | Upload

Viruses, fungi and bacteria have gotten a pretty bad rep as of lately. These little pests, invisible to the human eye, are mostly known for invading places where they should not be and creating havoc - whether it is the fungi invading our moist-ridden basement or the COVID-19 strain of the coronavirus sweeping through the neighborhood. 

Antarctic Fuel Eating Microbes Cleaning Up The Soil 

Far too many of us assume that all and any tiny organisms spell trouble. In reality, they are in just as many cases - perhaps even more - good news. The smallest lifeforms on earth have a remarkable talent for adapting and surviving. Sometimes to our detriment, like the ever-changing flu-virus, and sometimes for our betterment. 

Recommended: Coronavirus, COVID-19 Symptoms Flu, And Global Climate Change

One of those helpful critters can be found in the Antarctic. The government proudly claimed to have found a solution for the pollution on its continent, outlining it in a press release titled ‘Fuel munching microbes clean up Antarctica.’ It creates a massive pile of contaminated soil. It has been referred to as a luxury dirt ‘hotel’ for microbes, sure to attract billions of natural native microorganisms, who are actively being encouraged to eat the fuel.

Purple centre, hairs around

An engineered version of this Escherichia coli bacterium gets all the carbon it needs to grow from carbon dioxide, just like plants.

This encouragement takes the form of constant remediation of the soil, as the Remediation Manager Tim Spedding explains: “We try and keep the pile a few degrees above zero, with higher moisture content at about 10-12% water, some nutrients and a lot more oxygen, to get the microbial community as happy and active as possible.”

After all, less than 0.05% of the Antarctic continent is ice-free. This means that all soil has to be protected, as it is precious in the otherwise icy environment. Through this bioremediation, the microbes help in cleaning up the dirt, ultimately preparing it for re-use.


                                                                 7 Organisms That Can Clean Toxic Waste

Chernobyl Radiation Eating Fungus Shielding Us From Radiation

Another tiny organism was found in the unlikely spot of the Chernobyl complex, which is still suffering from the aftermath of a deadly nuclear disaster. A small fungus was found to be capable of resisting radiation and - taking it one step further - literally eating it. Encouraged by these remarkable findings, this fungus was brought along to be grown on the International Space Station, another radiation-exposed location where it could prove its worth.

building Chernobyl, fungus

The implications of this discovery are enormous. After all, if this fungus is capable of removing radiation, it could take away one of the most significant concerns of nuclear energy - the issue of its waste. The fungus in question has a very dark melanin pigment capable of absorbing radiation. At the same time, it processes the radiation and turns it into energy. 

Recommended: Climate Change Halted By Nuclear Reactors: Fission, Fusion

Think about that. Hazmat gear and space suits capable of withstanding radiation and generating energy because of its radiation-eating capabilities. It could enable long-term space travel, for one, which is now limited by the constraint of not exceeding a certain amount of radiation exposure. At the same time, it could help us get rid of nuclear waste and clean up disaster sites like Chernobyl.

Japanese Plastic Bottle Eating Enzyme Solving Plastic Pollution

In 2016, a Japanese waste dump was found to play host to a bacteria capable of eating plastic. Astonishingly, the bug has managed to evolve itself to a point where it produced an enzyme that can break down PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic, commonly used for soft drink bottles. 

plastic bottle, enzymes

Researchers took this bug and examined it in the lab. In 2018, a breakthrough happened when they managed to re-create and improve this mutant enzyme. By accident, just like most mutant bugs occur - not only the deadly ones but also the good ones. The team wanted to find out how the bug was able to evolve, but in doing so, accidentally improved the enzyme. 

Recommended: Bioplastic From Fish Scale And Skin Composts Quickly: UK

With this lab-created-super-enzyme, plastic can be broken down in a mere few days - much faster than the centuries it would take otherwise. Even so, researchers are positive they can speed this up, even more, something that would turn the industry of plastic recycling upside down, providing an excellent service to the environment.

Unique Species Of Caterpillar That Survives On Plastic

These bacteria are not the only ones capable of breaking down plastic. The larvae of the wax moth with the catchy name Garlleria melonella are known to eat plastic as part of their diet. They can survive on polyethylene alone for more than a year, digesting the plastic as they go along. They do so even faster than the other organisms capable of breaking down plastic.

carterpillar

When looking into the mechanisms, it became clear that the gut microbiome plays an important role. Compared to other diet options, caterpillars eating plastic showed an increased number of gut bacteria. This has led researchers to the conclusion that some bacteria involved in the breakdown of plastic proliferate. 

Recommended: Microplastics Can Be Moved From The Ocean: Is It Harming Us?

Once again, this is something that could potentially have huge implications when it comes to solving the plastic crisis of the world, finally ridding our oceans of the waste - if we are capable of mimicking the workings of these gut bacteria, something that is being investigated thoroughly. 

Tiny Organisms Saving The World

These examples prove one thing: we should not be afraid of all things tiny that we are unable to see. Granted, some of those hold the power of making us pretty sick - while others can do a whole lot of good to us and the planet, like the fuel-munching microbes, radiation-snacking fungus, and various organisms feasting on plastic. 

Recommended: Garbage That Could Kill The Whole Human Race

Mother Nature has a funny way of restoring her balance. Learning from these organisms and understanding how they do good, could help us a great deal in making the world a better place to live in.

Before you go!

Recommended: Fashion From Algae Absorbs CO2: Is It possible To Wear?

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Will Viruses, Fungi And Bacteria Save Us Globally

Viruses, fungi and bacteria have gotten a pretty bad rep as of lately. These little pests, invisible to the human eye, are mostly known for invading places where they should not be and creating havoc - whether it is the fungi invading our moist-ridden basement or the COVID-19 strain of the coronavirus sweeping through the neighborhood.   Antarctic Fuel Eating Microbes Cleaning Up The Soil   Far too many of us assume that all and any tiny organisms spell trouble. In reality, they are in just as many cases - perhaps even more - good news. The smallest lifeforms on earth have a remarkable talent for adapting and surviving. Sometimes to our detriment, like the ever-changing flu-virus, and sometimes for our betterment.   Recommended:  Coronavirus, COVID-19 Symptoms Flu, And Global Climate Change One of those helpful critters can be found in the Antarctic. The government proudly claimed to have found a solution for the pollution on its continent, outlining it in a press release titled ‘Fuel munching microbes clean up Antarctica.’ It creates a massive pile of contaminated soil. It has been referred to as a luxury dirt ‘hotel’ for microbes, sure to attract billions of natural native microorganisms, who are actively being encouraged to eat the fuel. An engineered version of this Escherichia coli bacterium gets all the carbon it needs to grow from carbon dioxide, just like plants. This encouragement takes the form of constant remediation of the soil, as the Remediation Manager Tim Spedding explains: “ We try and keep the pile a few degrees above zero, with higher moisture content at about 10-12% water, some nutrients and a lot more oxygen, to get the microbial community as happy and active as possible .” After all, less than 0.05% of the Antarctic continent is ice-free. This means that all soil has to be protected, as it is precious in the otherwise icy environment. Through this bioremediation, the microbes help in cleaning up the dirt, ultimately preparing it for re-use. {youtube}                                                                  7 Organisms That Can Clean Toxic Waste Chernobyl Radiation Eating Fungus Shielding Us From Radiation Another tiny organism was found in the unlikely spot of the Chernobyl complex, which is still suffering from the aftermath of a deadly nuclear disaster. A small fungus was found to be capable of resisting radiation and - taking it one step further - literally eating it. Encouraged by these remarkable findings, this fungus was brought along to be grown on the International Space Station, another radiation-exposed location where it could prove its worth. The implications of this discovery are enormous. After all, if this fungus is capable of removing radiation, it could take away one of the most significant concerns of nuclear energy - the issue of its waste. The fungus in question has a very dark melanin pigment capable of absorbing radiation. At the same time, it processes the radiation and turns it into energy.   Recommended:  Climate Change Halted By Nuclear Reactors: Fission, Fusion Think about that. Hazmat gear and space suits capable of withstanding radiation and generating energy because of its radiation-eating capabilities. It could enable long-term space travel, for one, which is now limited by the constraint of not exceeding a certain amount of radiation exposure. At the same time, it could help us get rid of nuclear waste and clean up disaster sites like Chernobyl. Japanese Plastic Bottle Eating Enzyme Solving Plastic Pollution In 2016, a Japanese waste dump was found to play host to a bacteria capable of eating plastic. Astonishingly, the bug has managed to evolve itself to a point where it produced an enzyme that can break down PET (polyethylene terephthalate) plastic, commonly used for soft drink bottles.   Researchers took this bug and examined it in the lab. In 2018, a breakthrough happened when they managed to re-create and improve this mutant enzyme. By accident, just like most mutant bugs occur - not only the deadly ones but also the good ones. The team wanted to find out how the bug was able to evolve, but in doing so, accidentally improved the enzyme.   Recommended:  Bioplastic From Fish Scale And Skin Composts Quickly: UK With this lab-created-super-enzyme, plastic can be broken down in a mere few days - much faster than the centuries it would take otherwise. Even so, researchers are positive they can speed this up, even more, something that would turn the industry of plastic recycling upside down, providing an excellent service to the environment. Unique Species Of Caterpillar That Survives On Plastic These bacteria are not the only ones capable of breaking down plastic. The larvae of the wax moth with the catchy name Garlleria melonella are known to eat plastic as part of their diet. They can survive on polyethylene alone for more than a year, digesting the plastic as they go along. They do so even faster than the other organisms capable of breaking down plastic. When looking into the mechanisms, it became clear that the gut microbiome plays an important role. Compared to other diet options, caterpillars eating plastic showed an increased number of gut bacteria. This has led researchers to the conclusion that some bacteria involved in the breakdown of plastic proliferate.   Recommended:  Microplastics Can Be Moved From The Ocean: Is It Harming Us? Once again, this is something that could potentially have huge implications when it comes to solving the plastic crisis of the world, finally ridding our oceans of the waste - if we are capable of mimicking the workings of these gut bacteria, something that is being investigated thoroughly.   Tiny Organisms Saving The World These examples prove one thing: we should not be afraid of all things tiny that we are unable to see. Granted, some of those hold the power of making us pretty sick - while others can do a whole lot of good to us and the planet, like the fuel-munching microbes, radiation-snacking fungus, and various organisms feasting on plastic.   Recommended:  Garbage That Could Kill The Whole Human Race Mother Nature has a funny way of restoring her balance. Learning from these organisms and understanding how they do good, could help us a great deal in making the world a better place to live in. Before you go! Recommended:  Fashion From Algae Absorbs CO2: Is It possible To Wear? Did you find this an interesting article, or do you have a question or remark? Leave a comment below. We try to respond the same day. Like to write your article about agriculture? Click on  'Register'  or push the button 'Write An Article' on the  'HomePage.'
Stay Updated on Environmental Improvements And Global Innovations