Underwater microbe ‘cities’ off Zakynthos - University of East Anglia

Article, Computational Colloids

The cities of the future could be built by microbes

9 Aug , 2016  

Martyn Dade-Robertson’s article for “The Conversation” has just been published. The full text can be read here. An extract of the text is as follows:

You might be disappointed to hear that some intriguing underwater structures recently discovered off the Greek island of Zakynthos are not part of the lost city of Atlantis. But the structures, which resemble colonnades of cobble stones and bases of columns, have an equally fascinating origin. They were actually constructed by microbes gathering around natural vents of methane and forming a natural cement in the otherwise soft sediment.

To some degree, these formations are an accident, sculpted by the interaction of the microorganisms with their physical and chemical environments. But they still point to a complex ability not usually associated with simple single-celled organisms less than 0.0002cm in diameter. So if bacteria can grow their own “cities”, could we use them to grow ours as well?

Image Credit: Underwater microbe ‘cities’ off Zakynthos – University of East Anglia

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