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Exploring how bacteria thrive in the Great Salt Lake

November 12, 2009 Share This!

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LOGAN, Utah – Extreme conditions at the Great Salt Lake put special pressures on the tiny, single-celled organisms that live there. The lake's high salt content limits the amount of oxygen in its water. When night falls, oxygen-generating photosynthesis stops, and the living creatures quickly use up what's left. To survive, bacteria and other microorganisms must change how they get their energy.

Understanding how the community of life responds to these varying conditions can help scientists use bacteria to clean up contamination, develop energy sources, protect our health and the health of our ecosystems. Researchers at EMSL will build a database of the proteins found in the lake's bacteria and archaea, another microbe found in extreme environments. Proteins are an organisms' toolkit, and Utah State University researchers will be able to use this information to monitor how the microbial community uses its toolkit to respond to changing conditions.

Click to read entire release posted by Utah State University.

Tags: Fundamental Science, EMSL, Biology, Molecular Biology and Biochemistry

EMSL, the Environmental Molecular Sciences Laboratory, is a national scientific user facility sponsored by the Department of Energy's Office of Science.  Located at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory in Richland, Wash., EMSL offers an open, collaborative environment for scientific discovery to researchers around the world. Its integrated computational and experimental resources enable researchers to realize important scientific insights and create new technologies. Follow EMSL on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter.

Interdisciplinary teams at Pacific Northwest National Laboratory address many of America's most pressing issues in energy, the environment and national security through advances in basic and applied science. Founded in 1965, PNNL employs 4,300 staff and has an annual budget of more than $1 billion. It is managed by Battelle for the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. As the single largest supporter of basic research in the physical sciences in the United States, the Office of Science is working to address some of the most pressing challenges of our time. For more information on PNNL, visit the PNNL News Center, or follow PNNL on Facebook, Google+, LinkedIn and Twitter.

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