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11 July 1997 Nanobacteria from blood: the smallest culturable autonomously replicating agent on Earth
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Nanobacteria are the first mineral forming bacteria isolated from blood and blood products. They are coccoid cell-walled organisms with a size of 0.08 - 0.5 micrometers in EM, occure in clusters, produce a biofilm containing carbonate or hydroxyl apatite, and are highly resistant to heat, gamma-irradiation and antibiotics. Their growth rate is about one hundredth that of ordinary bacteria and they divide via several mechanisms. Taq polymerase was able to use their nontraditional nucleic acid as a template. 16S rRNA gene sequence results positioned them into the alpha-2 subgroup of Proteobacteria. Nanobacteria are smallest cell-walled bacteria since they can pass through 0.07 micrometers pores. In low-serum cultures, they form even smaller elementary particles or tubular units. How can blood be infected with such slow growing, heat and radio-resistant bacteria? The answer may lie in their phylogeny: alpha-2 subgroup has organisms from soil exposed to radiation and heat, that can penetrate into eukaryotic cells. Nanobacteria grow so slowly that they require a niche `cleaned' with heat, radiation or immunodefence. For survival they cloak themselves in apatite, a normal constituent of mammalian body. This may link nanobacteria to nannobacteria discovered from sedimentary rocks by Dr. Folk. Both have similar size, size variation, clustering and mineral deposits. They may resemble the probable ancient bacterial fossils in the Martian meteorite ALH84001.
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E. Olavi Kajander, Ilpo Kuronen, Kari Kullervo Akerman, Alpo Pelttari, and Neva Ciftcioglu "Nanobacteria from blood: the smallest culturable autonomously replicating agent on Earth", Proc. SPIE 3111, Instruments, Methods, and Missions for the Investigation of Extraterrestrial Microorganisms, (11 July 1997);

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