New bacteria found living on Titanic wreck

Dec. 6, 2010 at 5:03 PM

OTTAWA, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- A new bacteria has been found in the wreck of the Titanic, growing in "rusticles," icicle-like structures on the ship's rusting iron, Canadian researchers say.

The previously unknown bacteria, Halomonas titanicae, was found in samples of rusticles taken from the Titanic by the Mir 2 robotic submersible in 1991, the BBC reported Monday.

Researchers from Dalhousie University and the Ontario Science Center in Canada and the University of Seville in Spain isolated the bacteria from those samples.

DNA sequencing showed them to be a new species of the Halomonas genus found in salt water environments.

The bacteria may shed light on the mechanism by which rusticles form and the "recycling" that such microbes carry out on submerged metal structures, the researchers said.

Such findings could have relevance to the protection of offshore oil and gas pipelines and the safe disposal at sea of ships and oil rigs, they said.

The find has been published in the journal International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology.

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