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10 Surprising Things That Bacteria Like to Eat

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You've probably heard of necrotizing fasciitis, also known as flesh-eating bacteria. But bacteria do not actually eat human flesh. They're actually trying to gobble up something a lot weirder. Here are ten of the stranger things bacteria naturally (and unnaturally) eat. You'll never look at dirty underwear the same way again.

10. Nuclear Waste
The bacteria Geobacter sulfurreducens changes the isotopic form of uranium through the transport of electrons, sucking up energy from the electron gradient and creating a stable, solid form of uranium in the process. This solid form of uranium is easier to recover in clean up efforts. These bacteria are currently being studied at uranium-contaminated sites in Washington and Tennessee.

9. Arsenic
Arsenic is poisonous to humans, killing by quickly disrupting the production of ATP in cells. The GFAJ-1 strain of Halomonadaceae, a bacteria found in some California lakes, thrives in the presence of arsenic. When scientists substituted arsenic for phosphorous in nutrient sources, GFAJ-1 easily substituted arsenic for phosphorous in the creation of proteins. The researchers controversially suggested this quality could increase the probability of finding extraterrestrial life, as phosphorous may not be essential to all life forms. [arsenic]
 
 

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