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Alkali-loving extremophile bacteria, SEM

Alkali-loving extremophile bacteria, SEM

B244/0059

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Credit

SHAUN BAESMAN / US GEOLOGICAL SURVEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SHAUN BAESMAN / US GEOLOGICAL SURVEY / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY

Caption

Alkali-loving extremophile bacteria. Coloured scanning electron micrograph of Bacillus selenitireducens (bright orange rods) with crystals of tellurium (upper right). This species of bacteria is haloalkaliphilic (salt and alkali-loving) and was found in the bottom sediment of Mono Lake, USA. It can grow in oxygen deprived conditions with a pH range of 8.5-10. It can grow on arsenate, which is water insoluble, reducing it to arsenite which is water soluble and highly toxic. B. selenitireducens may offer benefits to man as it grows nanometre-sized spheres of selenium on the outer membrane that could be used to develop new types of miniature semiconducting devices.

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