This Article is From Jun 18, 2009

Microbiologists find magnetic bacteria in Lonar lake

New Delhi:

Microbiologists in Maharashtra have found 'magnetic bacteria' in the ancient Lonar lake formed due to meteorite impact, a finding that might open a vista for searching extra-terrestrial life.

The magnetotactic bacteria, which are object of interest of scientists from various fields world over, were isolated from the lake in Maharashtra's Buldana district which is the only impact crater formed in basaltic rock.

The bacteria are unique as they swim along geomagnetic field lines because they contain tiny magnetic crystals called magnetosomes, said Mahesh Chavadar, a microbiologist at the Yashwantrao Chavan College of Science in Karad.

The fact that the bacteria was found in the lake has thrown open doors for research on life outside universe.

"This seems to hint at a certain correlation between these bacteria and meteorites, and that could have tremendous implications on the search for extra-terrestrial life. We need to explore if life outside the earth existed in this form," Chavadar said reporting his findings in a recent issue of 'Current Science'.

The bacteria was first discovered in 1975 and only a few cultures of the micro-organisms are available in laboratories across the world.