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At first you may think that the title refers to the extraordinary shapes of tufa at the famous Californian Mono Lake. These shapes almost make us think about some extraterrestrial life forms. But it is actually much more serious than that. In 2010 a scientific paper was published which pointed out that some bacteria isolated from Mono Lake are able to survive in arsenic-rich and phosphorus-poor environment. The author speculated that the organism must be incorporating arsenic instead of phosphorus into its DNA. Two years later the theory was proven to be too far-fetched. Read more about it in this National Geographic article. The idea is quite interesting though. Similarities between chemical elements made people phantasize that the life forms on other planters may use for example silicon instead of carbon or arsenic instead of phosphorus. Microorganisms isolated from contaminated aquifers have been shown to be able to catalyse certain chemical reactions, which scientists thought were not existent in the biological world. This is quite an important fact because hypothetically it means that you can utilize some microorganisms to recycle some waste streams into useful products. I had the satisfaction to work in a team working in this area of science for 6 years. I cannot write more about it because the work is highly confidential.

20 years ago the extraordinary Mono Lake was one of hidden gems of California. Nowadays everybody who visits Yosemite National Park has also Mono Lake on the list of places to visit.

Fis2, ikeharel, rychem, PiotrF, mcmtanyel, COSTANTINO, macjake marcou esta nota como útil

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Additional Photos by Mariusz Kamionka (mkamionka) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5464 W: 104 N: 13930] (55692)
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