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New type of bacteria discovered in Jamaica Plain - living on solar panels in the Arboretum

The Harvard Gazette reports a researcher has discovered a new bacterium on solar panels atop the Arnold Arboretum's Hunnewell Building.

The new species is marked by the presence of colorful carotenoid pigments and an affinity for solar radiation, high temperatures, limited nutrients, and desiccation. That combination may be tough to find in lush New England, but is common on solar panels like those at the Arboretum’s Hunnewell Building, where it was discovered. ...

The bacterium, Sphingomonas solaris, was discovered by Kristie Tanner, a University of Valencia graduate student on a three-month stay in Boston, thanks to a grant from Harvard’s Real Colegio Complutense. Tanner was conducting Ph.D. research, which included sampling and characterizing microbial communities living on solar panels in an array of environments, such as the Arctic, Antarctic, Boston, and her native Spain.

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In 2016, a postdoc at Harvard’s Farlow Herbarium discovered a new species of truffle fungus, Tuber arnoldianum, living symbiotically among tree roots ...

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On solar.

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Bacteria are everywhere. You, Matt, have billions of them living in and on you. Not only are most of them completely harmless, you actually need some of them to live. It looks like the only place in our area that these new ones can survive is on solar panels. Not in your nose, or lungs, or skin. Not in your vegetable garden. Not on your pets. They aren't having any effect on humans at all, so their existence is not a "knock on solar."

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on the solar panels either, for that matter. These were only discovered by culturing swabs.

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Energy gobbling solar panel bacteria invade the DNA of JP novel truffles creating giant power hungry fungi that are at once terrifying and delicious. Citizens panic but a gallant emotional support pig with a nose for truffles roots them out and they're destroyed with molotov cocktails of sherry with drawn butter and rosemary. 68% Rotten Tomatoes

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Ok great thanks we know that. Is this one of the good guys who are our friends or one of the bad guys trying to kill us?

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If they were on me I’d be able to see them.

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?

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Are you that hot?

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I'd be worrying about this:

Morono was initially taken aback by the results. “At first I was skeptical, but we found that up to 99.1% of the microbes in sediment deposited 101.5 million years ago were still alive and were ready to eat,” he said.

To be clear, he meant that the microbes were hungry, not that people were going to eat them. Anyway, are we supposed to assume that we're immune to all of these germs from 100 million years ago?

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You're also safe from most of the billions of varieties of microbes that are kicking around in present-day. They evolve for specific niches, the vast majority of which are not you.

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So, how many of these bacteria does it take to reduce the efficiency of the panel?

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alone. they will grow up to be whatever it is that is supposed to replace us.

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