Navigation Links
As good as gold
Date:5/10/2011

Similar to humans, the bacteria and tiny plants living in the ocean need iron for energy and growth. But their situation is quite different than ours for one, they can't exactly turn to natural iron sources like leafy greens or red meat for a pick-me-up.

So where does their iron come from? New research published by "Nature Geoscience" points to a source on the seafloor: minute particles (called nanoparticles) of pyrite, or fool's gold, from hydrothermal vents at the bottom of the ocean.

Scientists already knew the vents' cloudy plumes emitted from the earth's interior include pyrite particles, but they thought they were solids that settled back on the ocean bottom. A University of Delaware team has shown that the vents emit a significant amount of pyrite as nanoparticles, which have a diameter that is one thousand times smaller than that of a human hair. Because the nanoparticles are so small, they are dispersed into the ocean rather than falling to the bottom.

Barbara Ransom, program director in the agency that funded the research, the National Science Foundation's Division of Ocean Sciences, called the discovery "very exciting."

"These particles have long residence times in the ocean and can travel long distances from their sources, forming a potentially important food source for life in the deep sea," she said.

UD Oceanography Professor and project collaborator George Luther explained the importance of the pyrite's lengthy residence times, or how long they exist in their current form. He said the pyrite, which consists of iron and sulfur as iron disulfide, does not rapidly react with oxygen in the seawater to form oxidized iron, or "rust," allowing it to stay intact and move throughout the ocean better than other forms of iron.

"As pyrite travels from the vents to the ocean interior and toward the surface ocean, it oxidizes gradually to release iron, which becomes available in areas where iron is depleted so that organisms can assimilate it, then grow," Luther said. "It's an ongoing iron supplement for the ocean much as Geritol or multivitamins are for humans."

Growth of the bacteria and tiny plants, known as phytoplankton, can affect atmospheric oxygen and carbon dioxide levels.


'/>"/>

Contact: Andrea Boyle
aboyle@udel.edu
302-831-1421
University of Delaware
Source:Eurekalert  

Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
As good as gold
(Date:12/5/2016)... , Dec. 5, 2016  The Office ... today published "Can CT Scans Enhance or Replace ... the potential of supporting or replacing forensic autopsies ... CT scan. In response to recommendations ... is exploring using CT scans as a potential ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... Nov. 30, 2016  higi SH llc (higi) ... initiative targeting national brands, industry thought-leaders and celebrity ... respective audiences for taking steps to live healthier, ... in 2012, higi has built the largest self-screening ... 38 million people who have conducted over 185 ...
(Date:11/28/2016)... 28, 2016 "The biometric ... 16.79%" The biometric system market is in the ... the near future. The biometric system market is expected ... at a CAGR of 16.79% between 2016 and 2022. ... biometric technology in smartphones, rising use of biometric technology ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:12/7/2016)... ... 07, 2016 , ... A new study published in the ... treated, advanced pancreatic cancer, liquid biopsies are not yet an adequate substitute for ... blood sampling may improve the value of a blood-based test.” The study was ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... 2016 Neogen Corporation (NASDAQ: NEOG ... Kephart as its chief science officer — a ... responsibilities at Neogen effective Jan. 1. Kephart ... agribusiness unit of Thermo Fisher Scientific, as well as ... His extensive industry experience also includes the management of ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... , Dec. 7, 2016 /PRNewswire/ - Zenith Capital Corp. ("Zenith" ... that will be presented at the Company,s Annual and Special ... of Shareholders will take place on Thursday, December 15, 2016 ... Glenn Hall (Room EC1040), 4825 Mount Royal Gate SW, ... (MST). A notice of meeting and management information circular, containing ...
(Date:12/7/2016)... Dec. 7, 2016  Biocom, the association for the ... below following passage of 21 st Century Cures legislation ... 30 by a 392-26 vote and in the Senate on ... attributed to Joe Panetta , president & CEO of ... give hope to millions of patients around the world. The ...
Breaking Biology Technology: