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How do extremophile bdelloid rotifers survive on limited nutrients?

Dates
Monday, June 24, 2019 - 14:30 to 15:30
Location
Robert Hooke Seminar Room

School of Physical Sciences Seminar

Monday 24th June at 2.30pm

Robert Hooke Seminar Room

Coffee available from 2.00pm

Thomas McNally (Imperial College, London)

How do extremophile bdelloid rotifers survive on limited nutrients?  

 

Bdelloid rotifers are microscopic animals able to withstand extremes of freezing, arid, anoxic and radioactive conditions. They can survive without water or nutrients in a desiccated state for up to nine years. They are also extremely resistant to starvation and pilot studies into the limits of their tolerance suggest laboratory cultures of rotifers can thrive and even reproduce in the absence of added organic nutrients in a minimal ionic solution. How they can do this is currently a mystery. A clue to this puzzle is the fact that they are unable to grow or reproduce in media that is completely free of bacteria. This suggests a bdelloid rotifer’s associated microbial community may be able to use inorganic ions to generate energy, fix carbon or both, producing the biochemical complexity to support animal life.

By probing the microbial communities associated with A. ricciae, the laboratory model for bdelloid rotifers, we will characterise the syntrophic interactions of that microbial community and its metabolites with metabarcoding, reverse genetics techniques and NMR. This will be done with an eye towards useful or novel biomolecules that could provide an understanding on how metabolism can operate elsewhere in the solar system where freezing, arid, anoxic and radioactive conditions are the norm.

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