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Microbes aggregate sediment: blue-green algae


Stromatolite in Australia / C. Eeckhout / LicenseCC-by - Attribution

Cyanobacteria grow large layered clumps of rock and algae, called stromatolites, by trapping sediment in mucus and filaments.

"Half dead, half alive, stromatolites represent a partnership between microorganisms and rock. The spongy coating is made of cyanobacterial filaments that secrete a sticky mucus. Grains of sediment get trapped in the mucus and stick together to form a crust of rock. As the filaments grow longer, they trap more sediment and add a new layer to the exterior. What’s left on the inside is dead zone." (Monastersky 1998:74)
About the inspiring organism
Med_stromatolitheaustralie2007 Cyanobacteria

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Organism/taxonomy data provided by:
Species 2000 & ITIS Catalogue of Life: 2008 Annual Checklist

Bioinspired products and application ideas

Application Ideas: Solar-based low-energy method for clearing sediment from polluted waters while creating a substrate for microorganisms that degrade and/or absorb pollutants.

Industrial Sector(s) interested in this strategy: Environmental, water utilities

Monastersky R. The rise of life on earth. National Geographic. 193(3): 54-81.
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