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Old 07-02-2012, 11:32 AM
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Default 500m of conductive biologival nanowire per cm² in ocean floor

This is amazing. Recently there have been studies done on ocean floor sediments that showed the presence of electrically conductive fibres. Apparently, these fibres are used to transport electrons from the subsurface to the surface to allow microorganisms to breathe (they "breathe" by transporting electrons from hydrogen sulfide to oxygen in the water).
The astonishing facts are, that there are over 500m worth of fibres in one cm². They are electrically conductive. They are of biological origin. The fibres are made up of symbiotic cells, basically they are a chain of cells that share one outer membrane (periplasm) and that are forming a filament (string). They are connected by an organic nanowire that runs in the periplasm with the periplasm acting as an insulator to the outside world. The filaments can be several centimeters long.
Now there have not been found ways to analyze the structures in detail or how these filaments are set up, if they are a network or if they are single line filaments (which seems to be more likely).
But in any case, I fiund the analogy to the nerves in the brain quite fascinating. In the brain, the neurons are connected by axons. Axons are basically electic conduits, that are "guarded" by a chain of Schwann cells.

Ok, I cannot say "that is more connections than in a human brain" in terms of density, but I can imagine that "signal transduction is fast" - who knows, maybe this will eventually evolve into something rather fascinating. After all, it is covering large patches of ocean floor

Greetings.
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Old 07-02-2012, 02:08 PM
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I read an article about this recently that was posted in IRC.
Giant living power cables let bacteria respire - tech - 29 June 2012 - New Scientist
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Old 07-02-2012, 09:30 PM
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Very interesting

Even if there are only a few centimetres, it's something with potential too.

That second link says they have been able to outcompete other life there for sulphides, which would seem to potentially show some form of advantage from it.
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Old 07-03-2012, 02:20 PM
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Definitely. They can connect deeper layers with sulphide to the ocean with oxygen. Other bacteria cannot do this because the gap between these two zones is too large - especially if these filaments are there.
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