Light increases the growth even of some bacteria that don't harvest its energy!
Microbe of the episode
Microbe of the episode: Methylococcus thermophilus
There are other ways to benefit directly from the sun's energy, besides photosynthesis—some microbes have enzymes that use light energy to repair damage to DNA (the same damage that is caused by ultraviolet light), and we use sunlight to synthesize vitamin D.
In this study, however, microbes are discovered to grow faster in the presence of light despite not being phototrophs or producing any light-harvesting proteins. The scientists discover some possible light-sensing proteins, though, that could regulate these microbes' behavior, allowing them to synchronize their growth cycles to phototroph partners in aquatic environments.
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