Geobacter surreducens has learned to build armor from toxic cobalt

Although bacteria formally belong to simple forms of life, their true potential and new abilities being discovered sometimes surpass even the skills of a person. For example, Geobacter surreducens, which amazes with its high-tech "inventions". Recently, one more has been added to them - armor made of metal, almost like Iron Man.

In the past, Geobacter surreducens have been convicted of the ability to create nanowires, generate electricity, and use rust for gas exchange. Because of this, they “laid eyes on it” as a promising basis for biogenerators of energy from mud and water. A new property only fuels interest in this topic - it turned out that this bacterium is insensitive to the extremely toxic cobalt. Moreover, she learned to use it as a building material.

It is not yet clear how, but the bacterium does not allow cobalt particles to penetrate through its membrane. Thanks to this, poisoning does not occur, but a layer of metal that is dangerous for other microbes is formed outside the body of Geobacter surreducens. The bacterium, as it were, wraps itself in it, creates a semblance of armor for itself, which has been proven experimentally. Scientists believe that cobalt is not limited to one, it is not so widespread on Earth that the bacteria can rely only on it. There are new experiments and tests ahead of how Geobacter surreducens reacts to other toxic metals - for example, cadmium.