A newly discovered bacteria that breathes uranium as well as oxygen could be used to remove uranium contamination from water supplies, according to a study conducted by researchers from Rutgers University and published in PLOS ONE on April 13… “After the newly discovered bacteria interact with uranium compounds in water, the uranium becomes immobile,” researcher Lee Kerkhof said. “It is no longer dissolved in the groundwater and therefore can’t contaminate drinking water brought to the surface.”… The bacteria are part of the common class betaproteobacteria and are able to breathe either uranium or oxygen, unlike most metal-breathing strains. The researchers do not know how these common bacteria developed the ability to breathe uranium, but they suspect that they might have acquired the uranium-breathing gene from another species of bacteria in their environment.
Though previously thought to be impervious due to its massive size, the collective of the world’s oceans may be on the verge of a wide-scale extinction event, according to a new study. Scientists from the University of California, Santa Barbara, (UCSB) warn that, if human activity continues on its current trajectory, we could be seeing a whole lot more sea animal deaths, and possibly collapses of entire oceanic ecosystems… “We’re lucky in many ways,” said Dr. Malin L. Pinsky, a marine biologist at Rutgers University and one of the authors of the new report. “The impacts are accelerating, but they’re not so bad we can’t reverse them.”… Drs. Pinsky and McCauley tried to gain a better understanding of all this by collecting data from a wide range of sources, including discoveries logged in the fossil record and statistics on modern-day shipping activities, fish catches and seabed mining. What they found is that there’s still time to make things right.