Characteristics and Detection of Nanobacteria
Nanobacterium is the unit or member name of a former proposed class of living organisms, specifically cell-walled microorganisms, now discredited, with a size much smaller than the generally accepted lower limit for life (about 200 nm for bacteria, like mycoplasma). Originally based on observed nano-scale structures in geological formations (including one meteorite), the status of nanobacteria was controversial, with some researchers suggesting they are a new class of living organism capable of incorporating radiolabeled uridine, and others attributing to them a simpler, abiotic nature.
One skeptic dubbed them "the cold fusion of microbiology", in reference to a notorious episode of supposed erroneous science. The term "Calcifying Nanoparticles" (CNPs) has also been used as a conservative name regarding their possible status as a life form. Research tends to agree that these structures exist, and appear to replicate in some way. However, the idea that they are living entities has now largely been discarded, and the particles are instead thought to be nonliving crystallizations of minerals and organic molecules.
The main characteristic feature of nanobacteria is their more or less thick coating of apatite. Apatite is made up of soluble calcium and phosphorus compounds present in the medium containing the nanobacteria. Under the influence of limited nutrient conditions, nanobacteria produce microscopic colonies that are enclosed by the above-mentioned thick coating of apatite. These colonies may become larger than 1 mm in size.
Nanoparticles have intrinsic nucleic acids. This suggests that it may have its unique replication and specific protein biosynthesis system. The size of nanobacteria varies from 20 to 500 nm. The smaller ones are capable of passing through membranes with 100 nm pore size.
Nanobacteria are detected in animal and human blood. It is also found in tissue culture, cell lines, and bile. Nanobacteria can also exist in Australian sandstones, stratosphere, and in meteorites. The distribution of nanobacteria is generally studied based on the visualization of samples using scanning electron microscopy and transmission electron microscopy.
Another method of determining the presence of nanobacteria involves examining their propagation in a cell-free medium. Several studies have shown the significant role of nanobacteria in various diseases, particularly disorders associated with pathological calcifying processes.
Detection and treatment of nanobacteria
Nanobacteria are immunogenic. NanoBac Oy, Kuopio, Finland, has developed the kits for the detection of their antigen or antibodies. Nanobacteria are highly vulnerable to numerous chemotherapeutic agents. These include: 5-fluorouracil, Trimethoprim, Nitrofurantoin, Cytosine arabinoside, 6-aminocaproic acid, Trimethoprim-sulfamethoxazole, Potassium cyanide and Sodium azide. These chemicals inhibit the biosynthesis of proteins and nucleic acids. These agents can also suppress the function of the respiratory enzyme.
The researchers then compared their creations with naturally occurring 'nanobacteria-like particles' from human blood samples. The particles not only looked identical to the limestone mix, they also showed no traces of DNA or RNA. The researchers then blasted the particles with enough radiation to slaughter any bacteria, and found that the particles still looked the same. Although calcium carbonate deposits in the body can cause some ailments, nanobacteria are probably benign because they are so widespread in the body.
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