Intelligent Design

Electrical Communication in Bacteria

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A recent article describes an interesting idea – do bacteria in the ocean have an electrical power/signalling grid?

From the article:

Then the researchers did something they knew would make the bacteria unhappy: They started removing the oxygen from the water. If the bacteria were swapping materials, as Nielsen had suspected, those living below the surface of the mud would have gradually noticed that their oxygen supply was being cut off; they would have registered chemical changes in the sediment that could be detected by sensors. But instead, Nielsen and colleagues witnessed something far more rapid. Almost as soon as the researchers began removing the oxygen, the subsurface bacteria stopped consuming hydrogen sulfide in the mud. More important, this metabolic shutdown was a sign that the buried bacteria almost instantly realized something in the environment far above them had changed. The researchers also detected very rapid pH changes in the water in the beaker.

These responses occurred too quickly for any sort of chemical exchange or molecular process such as osmosis, says Nielsen. The most plausible option, his team reports in the 25 February issue of Nature, is that the bacteria are somehow communicating electrically by transmitting electrons back and forth. How exactly they do this is unclear, but Nielsen suspects the organisms may all be connected to each other via a microscopic electric grid, possibly made from tiny grains of metal, such as iron and manganese, in the sediment.

An interesting design, indeed. Thanks to MikeGene for finding this one.

5 Replies to “Electrical Communication in Bacteria

  1. 1
    Gods iPod says:

    So Avatar was onto something πŸ™‚

  2. 2
    uoflcard says:

    This hypothesis, of course, would not have made sense if not in light of natural evolution. And MAN is selected randomness brilliant!!!

  3. 3
    bornagain77 says:

    Man that is spooky, I wonder if they will be able to narrow it down to the actual cause? ,,, It would be really cool if it was found to be ‘quantum’ communication!!! 8)

  4. 4
    bornagain77 says:

    boy they could do some very interesting experiments with the bacteria to find the cause .i.e. put in various types of barriers to limit different types of communication etc..

  5. 5
    PaV says:

    BA,
    I don’t think that there is any doubt really that all intercations, biological, or non, are quantum based. There’s a little item on the ability of a single nueron (one cell) to distinguish between signal sequences. We’re talking here of different quantum signals—superpositions of states—which the individual nueron cell can distinguish.

    My question in all of this is: what “powers” this quantum communication?

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