Latest Issue of Science News


Rest in peace nanobacteria, you were not alive after all

Mystery particles made of minerals and proteins may still cause disease

Nanobacteria, extremely tiny “microorganisms” that have sparked controversy and may cause disease, have been declared dead. Again.

Some say the nanobacteria were never really alive. Once touted as the world’s smallest living organisms, and even an entirely new form of life, the entities are actually nothing more than sub-microscopic balls of minerals and proteins, independent teams of scientists in Taiwan and France report.

Surviving the nanobacteria is their “father,” Robert Folk, a geologist from the University of Texas at Austin, who discovered them in deposits from Italian hot springs in the early 1990s. Folk and his colleagues have since found the objects, which

Note: To comment, Science News subscribing members must now establish a separate login relationship with Disqus. Click the Disqus icon below, enter your e-mail and click “forgot password” to reset your password. You may also log into Disqus using Facebook, Twitter or Google.

This article is available only to subscribing members. Join SSP today or Log in.