Sunday, January 13, 2008

Wormy, yet Cool Pictures

While this is an excellent article, I am discouraged that the writers refer to "AIR" and not "NITROGEN" because many people will think they are talking about oxygen.
This is fantastic research and very cool pictures.
clipped from
Clams Convert Air into Food
Trait no longer the domain only of plants
Photo of bacteria in a shipworm that allow it to manufacture food from the nitrogen content in air.

Bacteria in a shipworm allow it to manufacture food from the nitrogen content in air.

Credit and Larger Version

Now scientists at Ocean Genome Legacy in Ipswich, Mass., and their colleagues at Harvard Medical School have shown that animals, too, can convert air into food. The National Science Foundation (NSF) funded their research.

The animals are marine clams called shipworms.
these clams use bacterial symbionts living inside a special organ in their gills to convert dissolved air [which is about 80 percent nitrogen] into the protein they need."

The discovery reveals a new way for animals to feed and suggests that other animals in the sea and elsewhere may be able to survive with only air as a source of protein.

Understanding how these clams make use of this process
gain insights into how plants fix nitrogen
responsible for
protein made by plants
Using multi-isotope imaging mass spectrometry (MIMS)
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