Bacteria eats radioactive waste
Date: Around 1993
In my studies, I have found that everything in this world is
balanced. When something dies it is converted into life. Is there anything
out there that could convert radioactive material into a harmless substance?
Some sort of bacteria that consumes radiation?
The reason why radiation is so harmful is that is produces free
radicals in living tissue, that is, it de-stabilizes molecules by tearing off
electrons due to intense energies. These free radicals start a chain reaction
of destruction, de-stabilizing neighboring molecules. If this continues
unchecked, cells die, genetic material are mutated, and tissue aging
accelerates. It is somewhat like being burned. Fire oxidizes by a similar
free radical reaction. (Hence the term "sun burn.") The natural defenses
against free radical reactions in biological systems are antioxidants, which
are enzymes, nutrients, and other chemicals, which quench free radical
reactions. Without them, life would very quickly cease. To my knowledge, no
microorganism has an antioxidant capacity great enough to withstand even
minimal exposure to any type of radiation. Microorganisms are actually very
susceptible to radiation, which is why heat and gamma irradiation are used to
sterilize food, instruments, etc. However, you raise an interesting
possibility in that perhaps one can be genetically engineered to have super-
antioxidant capacity, but that may be beyond current technology. Plus, if any
got loose, given the exponential rate of reproduction, they may become an
uncontrollable health hazard, as it would be very difficult to destroy them!
Unlikely, I would think. Organisms convert one type of molecule
into another, like proteins into sugars etc., but do not act at the level of
individual atoms, where the property of radioactivity resides. So even if
they had superantioxidant capability, I do not think they would be equipped to
do the job metabolically.
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Update: June 2012