Ayecarumba
Ayecarumba
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December 18th, 2010 at 3:56:57 AM permalink
Scientists recently reported the discovery of a bacteria in California's Mono Lake that does not need phosphorous to survive. Previously, phosphorous was considered one of the six elements required by all living things, so this discovery has caused a revision to some long held assumptions.

Without looking it up, what are the remaining five required elements?
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JohnnyQ
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December 18th, 2010 at 4:51:48 AM permalink
Would Carbon be one ? Hydrogen and Oxygen as well ?
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odiousgambit
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December 18th, 2010 at 5:17:07 AM permalink
plus nitrogen and potassium?
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Nareed
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December 18th, 2010 at 6:51:17 AM permalink
1 Carbon
2 Hydrogen
3 Oxygen
4 Nitrogen

I'm stumped for the fifth, but I'm going to say... hmmm.. Women!

No, seriously, sulfur?
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JohnnyQ
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December 18th, 2010 at 5:56:52 PM permalink
I would have never figured that phosphorous was on the list in the first place.

So let's put SODIUM on the list, why not ?
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Nareed
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December 18th, 2010 at 7:41:17 PM permalink
Quote: JohnnyQ

I would have never figured that phosphorous was on the list in the first place.



Phosphorous is part of a molecule called adenosine triphosphate (ATP) which is crucial in the transfer of chemical energy. Aside from the bacterium the OP cited, I know of no other organism that doesn't use it, and therefore need phosphorous to live.
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ahiromu
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December 18th, 2010 at 7:53:32 PM permalink
The OP was a little misleading, the fascinating thing about that bacteria is that it uses arsenic instead of phosphorus to make ATP. The moment phosphorus is no longer present it begins metabolizing arsenic from its surrounding.
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MathExtremist
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December 18th, 2010 at 7:57:43 PM permalink
From what I've been able to find on the net, it's not entirely ATAs that's being used, but more often ADPAs (2 phosphate, one arsenate). Still, the fact that it happened at all is pretty interesting since ATP is responsible for cellular energy.

I remember the morning of the announcement where the pre-announcement hype had everyone thinking that NASA had discovered extraterrestrial life. Three hours later we're talking about bacteria in California...
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Nareed
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December 18th, 2010 at 8:15:09 PM permalink
Quote: MathExtremist

From what I've been able to find on the net, it's not entirely ATAs that's being used, but more often ADPAs (2 phosphate, one arsenate). Still, the fact that it happened at all is pretty interesting since ATP is responsible for cellular energy.



And since arsenic is deadly poisonous to most life.

But then bacteria can evolve very quickly.
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Ayecarumba
Ayecarumba
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December 20th, 2010 at 11:14:45 AM permalink
Quote: Ayecarumba

Scientists recently reported the discovery of a bacteria in California's Mono Lake that does not need phosphorous to survive. Previously, phosphorous was considered one of the six elements required by all living things, so this discovery has caused a revision to some long held assumptions.

Without looking it up, what are the remaining five required elements?



Until recently, the "Big Six" were: CHNOPS, so the revised, "Big Five" are: Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen..... and Sulfer.

Link to an article about the bacteria here.

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