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Single celled farmer

July 23, 2010

There’s a great post on Skeptic Wonder about a single-celled protist that secretes a nutritious substance as it crawls along seaweed. The secretion attracts colonies of bacteria to grow, and the protist comes back and “harvests” them. Pretty neat:

Thus, a ‘mere’ single celled organism can produce organised tracks of nutritious material, wait for their bacterial crop to grow, and subsequently harvest it. We like to think we invented agriculture. The more biologically-oriented among us point out leafcutter ant fungus gardens and aphid farming. Yet, agriculture has also evolved on the unicellular scale in a small humble foraminiferan living among blades of seagrass. Humbling, isn’t it?

The microbes’ motto: “Anything you can do, I can do better.”

One Comment leave one →
  1. July 23, 2010 5:45 pm

    wow, that is pretty cool! I love being reminded how could the world is.

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