r/science PhD | Cancer Biology Oct 06 '22

How Bacterial Spores Calculate the Best Time To Return to Life - Bacterial spores assess their environment while dormant using stored electrochemical energy, like a capacitor, to determine when it is best to “wake up” Biology


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u/Rechlai Oct 06 '22

Interesting! I had no idea how that worked but I've always been curious. I wonder what happens if it runs out of this charge over the course of a very long sleep?


u/iamisg PhD | Biophysics | Medicine Oct 06 '22

Bacterial spores are among the most resistant forms of life, they are highly resistant to heat, radiation and toxic chemicals and can survive for many years. Electric arcs (used in welding operations) could cause discharge and kill the spores, but mostly because of the damage to DNA. Some chemicals can cause potassium leakage and this will trigger premature waking up. It's much easier to kill spores when they are awake.


u/johnjohn4011 Oct 07 '22

Meanwhile this much higher life form's electrochemical energy consistently erroneously insists that 3am is the best time to wake up.


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