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Archaeons shown to thrive on fireworks ingredient

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A new study in the Netherlands has found a deep-sea microbe living in high-temperature hydro-thermal vents can thrive on chlorate and perchlorate anions. Perchlorate, an ingredient in rocket fuel and fireworks, is toxic to most organisms.

The researchers, led by Martin Liebensteiner of Wageningen University in the Netherlands, have shown for the first time that Archaeoglobus fulgidus, an archaeon living in deep sea vents can survive and grow by reducing chlorate (ClO3-) and perchlorate (ClO4-) anions using enzymes (including some that are molybdenum-based) for the metabolism. Chlorates and perchlorates are not commonly found in the environments in which the archaeon lives.

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