Scientists discover unexpected activity in 'dead' bacteria

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Scientists have discovered unexpected activity in the

A new study of dormant bacteria has shown that even when they are physiologically “dead”, these organisms know what is happening around.

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American scientists have found that bacteria that fall into a dormant state and are physiologically considered “dead” can still actively respond to tiny changes in nutrient levels in order to choose the best time to wake up from their “sleep”, writes ScienceAlert.

According to Gyurol Xuel from the University of California at San Diego, USA, as a result of a new study, he and his colleagues found that bacteria that are in deep suspended animation can use the previously accumulated energy to process information about changes in the environment. In this way, the bacteria can know when it is best for them to come out of their “dead” state.

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Bacteria are very tenacious organisms. One of their survival tactics is to go into a dormant state, during which they cover themselves with a protective shell. In this way, bacteria can withstand extreme temperatures, high pressures, and even survive in space.

“But it's not just deep sleep. Bacteria in this state can be said to be dead, they don't metabolize,” Xuel says.

But at a certain point, the bacteria somehow know that they can wake up and they resume their metabolism. But how exactly do they do it? Scientists conducted a study of dormant bacteria Bacillus subtilis, which are harmless to humans and can live the longest in space.

During the experiments, scientists sent signals to bacteria that there were nutrients nearby that were necessary for their life. After a certain number of signals, the bacteria showed unexpected activity.

Scientists came to the conclusion that bacteria have a special survival strategy that allows only at a certain moment to start the mechanism for exiting suspended animation, when the information about the environment matches ” expectations” of the microorganism. But most importantly, to make such decisions, the bacteria did not need to start metabolic processes, and they used the previously accumulated energy.

“If scientists find life on Mars or Venus, it will most likely be in a dormant state, and we now know that a life form that seems completely inert can still think about when to get out of this state.Therefore, there is a chance to find bacteria still alive on other planets that may have been dormant for thousands of years,” Xuel says.< /p>

Focus already wrote that they are from the species of terrestrial bacteria, as research has shown, can survive on Mars.