Microorganisms like to eat meteorites

The metals in meteorites are a favorite food source for a microorganism called Metallosphaera sedula.

Microorganisms like to eat meteorites
M. sedula eats particles in meteorites. (Photo: Science Daily).

M. sedula gets its energy from inorganic substances. The researchers found that M. sedula eats minerals in meteorites faster than it eats minerals in rocks on Earth. This discovery provides valuable insights into the conditions that allowed life to emerge and evolve in early life, as well as how microorganisms survive in outer space. The results of the study were published December 2 in the journal Scientific Reports.

M. sedula is resistant to heat and low pH. Previous experiments have shown it can live on Martian soil. The team from the University of Vienna decided to test M. sedula on a 120kg meteorite called NWA 1172 , found in northwest Africa in 2000. This meteorite is rich in iron, a microbial oxidizing element for respiration. absorption, and other trace metals help promote metabolic activity and growth. The researchers also fed M. sedula samples of the mineral chalcopyrite on Earth, made up of copper, iron and sulfur.

They found that M. sedula cells digested meteorites much faster than chalcopyrite. They live and thrive on rocky meteorites by eating metal components, according to astrobiologist Tetyana Milojevic of the University of Vienna. The study also reveals alien materials that could have provided food for some of the earliest life forms on Earth. Meteorites can deliver many essential compounds that support the evolution of life.