Research in Science Education

Iron Loving Bacteria Mats

I was going over photosynthesis vs chemosynthesis this week and I remembered seeing an iron loving bacteria mat in the foundation of a dam when I worked for the Corps of Engineers. I wonder if it would be worthwhile research to examine this material and compare it to the microbes and bacteria near ocean bottom cold seeps? If there's any correlation, it would be neat to do ocean bottom bacteria mat and microbe comparison with this and deep sea sediments or material found on the edges of tectonic plates, especially near cold water seeps. Just mulling this one over...

James Johnson
James Johnson
94878 Activity Points

You pose an interesting research project, James, and it is frightening to contemplate iron-loving bacteria mutating sufficiently to seek out the molecular iron component of hemoglobin.

Carolyn Mohr
Carolyn Mohr
81148 Activity Points

Hi Carolyn. That's adaptation for you, I guess. One of the things I thought was pretty neat about this idea was the possibility to do dark energy investigations at an easily accessible location. Also, it's kind of neat to have a perspective of taking something previously viewed at as an objectionable nuisance and see it as something suitable for investigation. Next step is getting the permission to get some samples and then getting some of the C-DEBI scientists to analyze the mat and see what we actually have and see if it's worthy of study. Thanks for the comment!

James Johnson
James Johnson
94878 Activity Points

Are you familiar with Soudan Underground Mine State Park near Ely, MN.  It is an iron mine that produced a very high grade of iron (hematite) until it closed.  Then. U. S. Steel donated it to the State of Minnesota.  They give tours 27 stories underground.  On one of these tours, a microbiologist commented on how red the water was and obtained permission to sample it.  It turned out that iron-eating bacteria were trapped in the rocks.  There was speculation that this had produced the hematite.  The University of Minnesota operates the Soudan Underground Laboratory, operated by the University of Minnesota in partnership with the Fermi National Accelerator Laboratory, the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, and the CDMS II and MINOS Collaborations.  More information is available  at https://www.physics.umn.edu/outreach/index.html . 

Pinkey Dukes
Pinkey Dukes
30 Activity Points

Hi Pinkey!  Thanks for the great info.  I'll get in touch with them and let you know what happens.  Thanks, again!

James Johnson
James Johnson
94878 Activity Points

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