Wednesday, August 17, 2022

900 new microbes, elusive to millennia, could lead to the next global pandemic – Optic Flux

Researchers on the Tibetan Plateau reportedly discovered more than 900 previously unknown types of microorganisms hidden deep inside glaciers. It has been found that some types of bacteria can cause epidemics later in the event of rapid thawing of their frozen cages due to climate change.

As a result, the scientists created a vast collection called the Tibetan Glacier Genome and the Gene Database of Microbial Genomes from Ice-bound Microorganisms. Genetic sequencing of the microbiome that inhabits the entire glacier has never been done before.

According to a paper in Nature Biotechnology, scientists detected 968 microbial organisms preserved in the frost, mostly bacteria, but then also algae, archaea and fungi.

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Almost all of these organisms were previously unknown to science, with only a few exceptions. As a result of the difficulties associated with surviving in glaciers, scientists were surprised to see this amount of microbial diversity. There is a wide variety of life on glaciers, considering the fact that they are inaccessible to most forms of life due to cold temperatures, high amounts of solar radiation, and regular freeze-thaw phases.

However, no one knows exactly how ancient these microorganisms are; Previous research has indicated that microbes buried in permafrost above 10,000 years can be revived.

Because of global warming, melting glacial ice is increasing the likelihood that potentially deadly microbes—most commonly bacteria—will emerge and wreak havoc, experts say. According to scientists, if left in the atmosphere, harmful bacteria trapped in ice can cause local outbreaks and possibly epidemics.

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It is likely that some of these freshly discovered bacteria are toxic to people and wildlife. Within the list, the scientists discovered 27,000 potentially pathogenic factors, chemicals that facilitate bacterial invasion, and the colonization of new host cells. There is really no way to tell how dangerous the bacteria will be as about 47% of all these virulence determinants have not been observed before.

Nation World News Desk
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