New light-eating bacteria discovered in Yellowstone

Scientists have warned for decades that they’ve barely touched the surface of what makes bacteria in Yellowstone National Park’s famous geysers tick; yes, we’ve know bacteria can thrive in unconscionably hot conditions and gain sustenance from the slimmest of food sources.

But a new discovery may be the most breathtaking of all: scientists say they’ve found bacteria that can covert light into food. Researchers from Montana State and Penn State say the humble Candidatus Chloracidobacterium thermophilum — found in microbial mats near Mushroom Spring, Octopus Spring, and Green Finger Pool — use photosynthesis to convert light to food. The implications are enormous: if the bacteria can be replicated in the lab, it could be used to create larger beds to harvest light.

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Paradise Valley

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