Features of Magnetotactic Bacteria?

Linnea Ista lkista at UNM.EDU
Fri Aug 23 10:00:21 EST 1996

On 19 Aug 1996, Larry Adams wrote:

> What are some of the chief characteristics
> of magnetotactic bacteria?
They contain magnetosomes which are membrane bound and contain 
of magnetite, an iron oxide.

> Are they responsive to the earth's magnetic field?
They are responsive to any magnetic field, including the geomagnetic

> Do they reproduce by transformation, transduction,
> or by conjugation?
They reproduce by binary fission. Transformation, transduction and
conjugation are methods of genetic transfer (bacterial sex), which in the
prokaryotic world is not linked to reproduction.

> Do they use photosynthesis for energy or can they
> also obtain energy from the earth's magnetic field?
The strains that I am aware of (Aquasprillum) are obligately
aerobic respirers. However, other aquatic bacteria and some algae are also
magnetotactic and,presumably, have other types of metabolism. I am not
aware that magnetite is a storage granule, and thought that it's purpose
was only orientation, but in the vast microbial world, who know
Good luck,

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