The RMS Titanic, which hit an iceberg and sank in 1912 and then was found by searchers in 1977, still has a few mysteries left.
A brand-new bacterial species dubbed Halomonas titanicae by scientists from Dalhousie University in Halifax and the University of Sevilla, was found aboard the Titanic and is contributing to its deterioration.
The researchers isolated the Halomonas titanicae micro-organisms from a 'rusticle' collected from the Titanic, 3.8 km below the ocean surface.
Halomonas titanicae is able to adhere to steel surfaces, creating knob-like mounds of corrosion products, they say, and this bacterial corrosive process is thought to be responsible for the formation of the rusticles – which resemble rusty icicles – that adorn the hull of the Titanic. While these appear to be solid structures, rusticles are highly porous and support a complex variety of bacteria, suggesting that H. titanicae may work in conjunction with other organisms to speed up the corrosion of the metal.
Rusticles on the wreck of RMS Titanic. Credit: Image courtesy of RMS Titanic Inc.
The Titanic was 50,000 tons of iron and has been progressively deteriorating for the past 98 years. Dr. Bhavleen Kaur and Dr. Henrietta Mann from Dalhousie University believe that the findings have opened up further areas of research that could have applications for industry.
"We don't know yet whether this species arrived aboard the RMS Titanic before or after it sank. We also don't know if these bacteria cause similar damage to offshore oil and gas pipelines," they said. "Finding answers to these questions will not only better our understanding of our oceans, but may also equip us to devise coatings that can prevent similar deterioration to other metal structures."
Citation: Cristina Sánchez-Porro, Bhavleen Kaur, Henrietta Mann, and Antonio Ventosa, 'Halomonas titanicae sp. nov., a halophilic bacterium isolated from the RMS Titanic', Int J Syst Evol Microbiol (2010); DOI 10.1099/ijs.0.020628-0
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Case For Moon: Gateway For Open Ended Exploration, With Planetary Protection Central - On The SpaceShow
- Can't Resist Temptation? That May Not Be A Bad Thing
- After Losing In Government, Environmental Groups Embrace The Free Market
- Sweet Irony: The Environmental Impacts Of GMO Sugar Science Denial
- Catching The 750 GeV Boson With Roman Pots ?!
- Wildfire -- It's Not Spreading Like Wildfire
- Money Back Guarantees For Non-reproducible Results?
- "Okay, that may be true, but we never hear from them. Instead we hear from Environmental Working..."
- "You lost me at: Environmental groups, who ordinarily love centralized government and social authoritarian..."
- "Mi Cro, I happened upon your global temperature charts recently, and want to be sure I understand..."
- "You make good points. I thank you for them. I am enjoying reading your work. I agree that asteroid..."
- "Oh, okay, glad you aren't worried about little asteroids. Yes I agree, I haven't come across that..."
- Ketamine Better than Haloperidol for Sedation Onset But Not Much Else
- TIps & Tricks To Ward Off Ticks
- What is CRISPR-Cas9 and why do we need to know about it?
- Pancreatic Cancer: Surgery Improves Survival in One-third
- Intervention Decreases Adolescents’ Obesity
- What Organic and Chemical Actually Mean: A Glossary of Hijacked Terms
- Science instruments of NASA's James Webb Space Telescope successfully installed
- Tiny wasp sniffs out, picks up 'good vibrations' to battle ash borer
- Abundance inequality in freshwater communities has an ecological origin
- Family size and education levels: The right support could reverse long-held theory
- New water-quality data on impact of corn, soybeans on nitrate in Iowa streams