Magnetic bacteria have been discovered in the Mariana Trench for the first time

Sea near Mariana Trench

Japanese biologists have discovered for the first time primitive bacteria capable of magnetotaxis in the southern part of the Mariana Trench. These microorganisms inhabit an extremely harsh environment similar to the conditions on Earth during the early stages of life. This suggests that similar microorganisms could have existed on other planets.

"Deep-sea hydrothermal vents attract attention not only as the habitat of unique marine organisms but also as a possible analogue of the environment inhabited by extraterrestrial life forms. In particular, the environment where we found the bacteria is very similar to the one that could have existed on Mars when it still had water approximately three billion years ago," said co-author Yohei Suzuki.

The magnetosome bacteria belong to the Nitrospirae group and were found at a depth of 2,700 meters. These microbes can orient themselves along the Earth's magnetic field lines due to iron particles in their organic membrane. Previously, similar bacteria were only found on land or in the upper layers of the ocean.