The Organism That Eats Viruses

Well, here’s a new link to add to the food chain. Viruses are found everywhere, and it comes as no surprise that there will be an organic species that will eat them. Researcher John DeLong at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln found a microbe that actually has them as part of its diet. 

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He and his team aimed to discover if any actually ate viruses, and whether it would be enough to support the physiological growth of individuals and the population growth of a community. “They’re made up of really good stuff: nucleic acids, a lot of nitrogen and phosphorous,” said DeLong. “Everything should want to eat them. So many things will eat anything they can get ahold of. Surely something would have learned how to eat these really good raw materials.”

Their efforts lead them to find a ciliate known as Halteria. Its population grew about 15 times when supplied with Chlorovirus. The experts now crown the microbe as the first virovore, a creature that eats viruses.

Image credit: CDC

Source: neatorama

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