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欢迎光临月亮飞船的博客

用博客作平台传播科学新闻 以翻译为途径普及科学知识

 
 
 

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博主胡德良:邢台学院外语系英语教授,中国译协专家会员,河北省译协常务理事,邢台市译协副会长。爱好翻译,内容涉及宇宙探秘、医疗卫生、家庭保健、生命科学、能源科学、地球科学、环境科学、散文小说和纪实文学等领域。所译文章曾见于《光明日报》《科技日报》《健康时报》《健康报》《英语世界》《英语知识》《科技英语学习》《科学之友》《科学与文化》《世界科学》《生命世界》等全国各大报刊。博客特色:英汉对照、图文并茂,融趣味性、科学性、知识性为一体。

地球内部独特的栖息地(组图)  

2008-07-28 14:28:30|  分类: 生命科学 |  标签: |举报 |字号 订阅

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地球内部独特的栖息地(图) - 月亮飞船 - 欢迎光临月亮飞船的博客

这个细菌的细胞膜扭曲变形,显示出其独特的形状。

地球内部独特的栖息地(图) - 月亮飞船 - 欢迎光临月亮飞船的博客

在地下1.7公里处,星状细菌从矿井生物薄膜中脱颖而出。图中显示的标尺尺度为厘米。

Unique Habitat Found Inside Earth

By Aaron L. Gronstal 胡德良

 Researchers studying life in the deep subsurface of our planet have discovered a unique bacterium living 1 mile (1.7 km) below the Earth's surface. The tiny bacteria live in a community of subsurface microbes inhabiting a South African platinum mine.  研究地球深层地下生命的研究人员发现了一种独特的细菌,生活在地表以下1英里(1.7公里)的深处。这些微小的细菌生存于南非铂金矿中的地下微生物群落之中。
 The deep subsurface of Earth harbors many unique microbes that are only accessible through large scale drilling projects or mining. By trekking into the ultra-deep mines of South Africa, researchers are getting a rare glimpse into this unique habitat. In the depths of South Africa's Northam Platinum mine, scientists from the University of Western Ontario and Princeton University have gained access to many previously undiscovered microbial communities.  地球深处有着多种独特的微生物,只有通过大规模的钻探工程或采矿活动才能接触到。研究人员历尽艰苦,进入南非的超深矿井内,对这个难得一见的独特栖息地进行了观察。在南非诺瑟姆铂金公司的矿井深处,西安大略大学和普林斯顿大学的科学家们接触到许多以前未发现的微生物群落。
 While mining and drilling allow scientists to sample the unique environment below the Earth's soil, these activities obviously disturb the subsurface of the planet. Digging into the ground disrupts the microbial communities that live there. When people enter mines and caves, they bring with them a massive number of non-native microbes. Because of this, it's difficult to get uncontaminated samples.  尽管采矿及钻探活动使科学家们能够在地球土层以下的独特环境里采样,但是这些活动显然扰乱了地球的地下环境。地下挖掘活动干扰了居住在那里的微生物群落。当人们进入矿井和洞穴的时候,他们随身带进大量的外来微生物。因此,很难采到未受污染的样品。
 The team from the recent study decided to test samples from mines in order to determine just how contaminated they really are. They collected samples from slime, or biofilm, growing on the walls of the Northam mine in South Africa.  An explosion of life occurs where subsurface water leaks out of the mine walls and meets with oxygen, leading to films of microscopic organisms.  从事这项最新研究的科研小组决定对来自矿井的样品进行检测,以确定样品实际遭受的污染程度。他们采集了南非诺瑟姆铂金公司矿井墙壁上生长的生物薄膜。矿井墙壁上有地下水渗出的地方遇到氧气后,生命就会迅速滋生,产生了在显微镜下可以看到的一层层生物体。
 Previously, researchers overlooked these biofilms because they thought the films would be too heavily contaminated. To test this theory, the team determined whether or not their biofilms were formed by contaminant organisms from the surface, or by unique subsurface organisms.  以前,研究人员忽略了这些生物薄膜,因为他们认为薄膜层会受到严重的污染。为了检验这个论点,科研小组决心测定这些薄膜层是否由地面的致污生物体构成,或者是否由独特的地下生物体构成。
 The study, by Greg Wanger, Tullis Onstott and Gordon Southam, was published in a recent edition of the journal Geobiology.  该研究的论文是由格雷格·万格、塔利斯·昂斯托特和戈登·索瑟姆完成的,发表在最近一期《地理生物学》杂志上。
 The authors showed that the biofilms contained a number of unique organisms associated with the deep subsurface, and therefore such films might be an excellent place to search for new and unusual species of microbes. In fact, in their study the team came across one particularly strange microbe shaped like a tiny, microscopic star.  论文作者们指出:薄膜层中包含一些跟地下深处相关的独特生物体,因此这些薄膜层可能是搜寻新型奇特微生物的理想之地。事实上,科研小组在研究中遇到了一种特别奇怪的微生物,形状象一颗微型的星,显微镜下可以看到。
 Shaping up bacteria  塑造细菌的形状
 Microbes come in a number of shapes and sizes, but most of these shapes are rather uncomplicated. The easiest shape for a microbe to make is a sphere. Like a soap bubble, the cell membranes of microbes tend to naturally form this simple structure due to forces such as surface tension.  微生物往往呈现出几种不同的形状和大小,但其中大多数的形状并不太复杂。微生物最容易形成的形状是球状,如同肥皂泡,由于表面张力等力量的作用,微生物的细胞膜倾向于自然地形成这种简单结构。
 According to the research team, "the diversity of all bacterial shapes is more difficult to explain." Other shapes often seen in microbes include rods and spirals, but these take a bit of extra work on the part of the microbe. To make more complicated shapes, microbes have to use extra energy to fight against the natural forces that favor the sphere. According to the research team, the biofilms from Northam mine "contained a morphologically diverse assortment of bacteria."  科研小组报道说:“所有细菌的形状多样性问题是比较难以解释的。”微生物中常见的其他形状包括杆状和螺旋状,但是对于微生物来说,这些形状需要多费些周折。要想形成更为复杂的形状,微生物不得不利用额外能量来对抗倾向于形成球状的自然力量。科研小组的研究表明,来自诺瑟姆铂金公司矿井中的薄膜层里包含形态上与众不同的一类细菌。
 Some rare microbes go beyond the common and form radically unique shapes. The microbe discovered in the depths of the Northam mine is one such microbe. Using high-powered microscopes, the team captured images that show star-shaped cells with four to nine points. It's a unique structure for a microbe and one that has not been witnessed before.  一些罕见的微生物非同寻常,形成了极为特别的形状。在诺瑟姆铂金公司矿井深处发现的就是这样一类微生物。科研小组利用高倍显微镜看清了微生物的图像,图像显示出星状细胞,带有49个角。这在微生物中是独一无二的结构,而且这是以前从未看到过的结构。
 So why would a microbe want to take the shape of a star?  那么,为什么一种微生物乐意呈现出星状结构呢?
 As living organisms, every microbe needs food. When we need food, we can simply pick it up and put it in our mouths. That's not the case for most microbes. Many microbes simply float about in their environment in the hope that they'll be able to absorb the nutrients they need to survive.  作为活着的生物体,任何微生物都是需要食物的。当我们需要吃饭时,我们可以直接拿起食物,放在嘴里。然而对于多数微生物来说,情况并非如此。许多微生物只是漂浮在所处的环境中,希望能够吸收到生存所需的营养成分。
 Many microbes "eat" by letting nutrients diffuse through their cell membrane. A sphere may be easy to form, but it doesn't provide the largest surface area for a cell. By forming a more complicated shape, with a cell wall that folds and bends, the surface area of the cell is increased in relation to its interior volume. This means there's more cell wall through which the microbe can absorb its food.  许多微生物让营养成分通过细胞膜疏散开来,以此来完成“吃饭”任务。球状微生物可能易于形成,但是无法为一个细胞提供最大的表面积。如果形成比较复杂的形状,拥有可以折叠和弯曲的细胞壁,那么相对于细胞内部的容量来说,细胞的表面积增加了。这意味着微生物拥有更多可以利用的细胞壁来吸收自身所需的食物。
 The new microbe discovered by the researchers in South Africa has likely developed its unique shape in response to its unique environment. The deep subsurface of the planet is thought to be quite "nutrient poor" — there's not a lot of food to go around. Microbes need to develop clever strategies to out-compete their neighbors.  The surface-area-to-volume ratio for the star-shaped cells is thought to be as much as ten times better than common bacteria like e. coli. This advantage may help the stars survive amidst a neighborhood of microbes competing for the same food.  研究人员在南非发现的这种新型微生物发育成为奇特的形状,很可能是为了适应其所处的奇特环境。地球表面以下的深层地带被认为是“相当缺乏营养的”,周围没有多少食物。要想在竞争中胜过邻居,微生物需要施展聪明才智。研究人员认为:就表面积跟容量的比率来看,星状细胞比普通细菌(如:大肠杆菌)高出十倍之多。在附近都是其他微生物的情况下,这个优势可以帮助星状微生物竞争同一份食物。
 Inside planets  行星内部
 Scientists are just beginning to understand the unique types of life beneath the surface of our planet. Astrobiologists are particularly interested in the subsurface because it can help them understand how microbes might survive deep beneath the topsoil of other planets.  在获悉地球表面以下独特的生命种类方面,科学家们才刚刚起步。天体生物学家们对地下生命的研究特别感兴趣,因为这会帮助他们理解微生物可能会如何生存于其他行星表层土以下的深层地带。
 Upcoming and current missions to search for signs of past or present life on Mars are focusing on life beneath the martian soil. Right now, NASA's Phoenix Lander is using a scoop to dig on Mars. Recent images returned from Phoenix are already revealing clues about subsurface ice on the red planet.  目前实施的以及即将开始的航天行动都是要在火星上搜寻过去或现在的生命迹象,重点集中于火星土层以下的生命。此时此刻,美国国家航空航天管理局的“凤凰”号着陆器正在利用一把铲子在火星上挖掘。从“凤凰”号发回的最新图像已经揭示了这颗红色星球上有关地下冰的线索。
 The European Space Agency's ExoMars rover may take the exploration of Mars' subsurface one step further. Current plans are to place a drill on ExoMars that could allow the rover to dig up to 12 feet.  欧洲航天局的“ExoMars探测器”可能会进一步加强对火星地下的探索。目前的计划是:在“ExoMars探测器”上安装一台钻孔机,可以使该探测器的挖掘深达12英尺。
 NASA has also been developing prototype drills for use by human explorers on Mars. Drilling technologies have already been tested by NASA researchers in extreme environments on Earth, including the Canadian high arctic.  美国国家航空航天管理局也一直在开发人造火星探测器上应用的原型钻孔机。该管理局已经在地球上的极端环境中对钻孔技术进行了测试,测试地点包括加拿大的北极腹地。
 Microbes use many methods to survive in the nutrient-poor, oxygen-free, pitch-black world deep beneath our feet. Studying these microbes might provide clues about how organisms could live in harsh environments on other planets like Mars. Because of this, unique microbes like the "stars" of Northam mine may shed a bit of light on the future of planetary exploration.  微生物可能利用多种办法生存于我们脚下的这个缺乏营养、没有氧气、一片漆黑的世界里。对这些微生物的研究可能会提供一些线索,有助于我们理解为何生物体有可能生活在其他行星(如:火星)的恶劣环境中。因此,诺瑟姆铂金公司矿井中独特的星状微生物可以为将来的行星探索活动提供一些解释。

译自:美国《太空网》(24 July 2008

月亮飞船经典日志导读

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