If you learned in school that there are the six basic building blocks of all life on Earth, you may have to add one – arsenic, according to a new scientific discovery. The newly discovered strain of microbes is GFAJ-l. Other than its eating habits, it is classified as part of a common strain of bacteria.
If you didn’t learn the basic building blocks, here they are (or were?):
Carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus and sulfur
These have been basics to scientific research up until now. Nasa funded astrobiologists have discovered the exception to the rule, blowing the previous belief system into an explosion of theoretical off shoots.
Focused around one particular building block, phosphorus is known as a basis for carrying life energy. Phosphorus has the job of carrying this life energy to all cells in the form of a molecule.
Phos is the Greek root word for phosphorus, which means light, and is named so, presumably, because it is a glowing substance. Phosphorus is a common ingredient in many foods, and also found in large quantities in soda pop and high fructose corn syrup. Phosphorus is especially known for its function in the brain.
The discovery of a microbe that is turning scientific knowledge into an about face revolution is feeding itself on arsenic.
Prior to this time, arsenic has been known as a poison -one that disrupts life processes. Finding the microbe that feeds on arsenic is what’s causing a major turn around within the scientific world.
So far, beginning experiments started with growing the microbes gathered from Mono Lake in California. From what is described a harsh environment, the samplings of these microbes spurred further research.
At first these unusual microbes were treated to a diet of phosphorus and arsenic. The scientists went slim on the phosphorus and heavy with the arsenic. Step two was the withdrawal of the phosphorus, which is normally considered an essential for all living cells.
The results showed multiplication of the GFAJ-1 cells proving that they could grow on arsenic alone.
Research team’s lead scientist, Felisa Wolfe-Simon, a NASA Astrobiology Research Fellow in residence at the U.S. Geological Survey in Menlo Park, California is wondering about the very basis of what she believed she knew. At this point, the question is how many other instances of life on Earth are surviving outside of the basic premises of what the building blocks of life are believed to be?
Were GFAJ-1 cells here before scientists came along? Or are they fodder for a new science fiction novel about new life growing on earth planted here by aliens?
How many other surprises are awaiting the scientific community?
scientific ref – http://www.nasa.gov/topics/universe/features/astrobiology_toxic_chemical.html