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Science & Technology

Scientists find microbes living in oil

By T.K. Randall
August 9, 2014 · Comment icon 10 comments

A pool of oil on the shores of Pitch Lake. Image Credit: PD - Jw2c
The discovery could mean that there is a chance of finding life on other worlds such as Titan.
Discovered in Trinidad's Pitch Lake, the largest naturally occurring asphalt lake in the world, the microbes appeared to be thriving inside droplets only one-fifth the size of a drop of water.

"Oil was considered to be dead," said lead study author Rainer Meckenstock. "The microbes most likely were enclosed in droplets in the deep subsurface and ascended together with the oil."
The discovery is particularly significant with regard to the hunt for life on other worlds because places like Saturn's moon Titan possess hydrocarbon lakes which may have also formed in a similar manner. If this turns out to be the case then there is the possibility of finding life forms there as well.

Scientists are now working to understand how the microbes are surviving and whether or not it would be possible for them to adapt to living in the hydrocarbon lakes typically found on Titan.

Source: Yahoo! News | Comments (10)




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Recent comments on this story
Comment icon #1 Posted by bigjim36 10 years ago
This is one thing that has always annoyed me about scientists, that they apply our rules of life to alien life. All to often we hear "there can't be life there as it's inhospitable" etc etc. Who says alien life has to breath or drink water? They're aliens! Life adapts. This goes a way to proving how wrong scientists can be.
Comment icon #2 Posted by JustTerri 10 years ago
I agree.
Comment icon #3 Posted by thewild 10 years ago
http://www.scientificamerican.com/slideshow/gulf-oil-eating-microbes-slide-show/ I don't see how this is news. We have all kinds of microscopic life forms in everything.
Comment icon #4 Posted by Ichihara 10 years ago
http://www.scientifi...bes-slide-show/ I don't see how this is news. We have all kinds of microscopic life forms in everything. exactly.
Comment icon #5 Posted by qxcontinuum 10 years ago
This is not news at all, from 60's they cultivated a bacteria meant to reproduce fast, eat oil spills from the ocean's surface.
Comment icon #6 Posted by Ichihara 10 years ago
This is not news at all, from 60's they cultivated a bacteria meant to reproduce fast, eat oil spills from the ocean's surface. which lead some to conclusion how oil is abiotic origin.
Comment icon #7 Posted by lightly 10 years ago
Life is the most adaptable thing alive. i think Yogi Berra said that ;
Comment icon #8 Posted by StRoostifer 10 years ago
This is not news at all, from 60's they cultivated a bacteria meant to reproduce fast, eat oil spills from the ocean's surface. Are these the critters that cleaned up the gulf? I ask because I vaguely remember something being said about microbes at the time.
Comment icon #9 Posted by Imaginarynumber1 10 years ago
This is one thing that has always annoyed me about scientists, that they apply our rules of life to alien life. All to often we hear "there can't be life there as it's inhospitable" etc etc. Who says alien life has to breath or drink water? They're aliens! Life adapts. This goes a way to proving how wrong scientists can be. You have a poor understanding of science and what scientists do.
Comment icon #10 Posted by Ichihara 10 years ago
one thing is sure. scientists which try to finds how this microbes live in oil are outdated. there are microbes which even produce hydrocarbons and spicies which eat it.


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