shovland at mindspring.com
Tue Mar 15 01:02:49 UTC 2005
Olavi Kajander didn't mean to discover the mysterious particles that have
been called the most primitive organisms on Earth and that could be
responsible for a series of painful and sometimes fatal illnesses.
He was simply trying to find out why certain cultures of mammalian cells in
his lab would die no matter how carefully he prepared them.
So the Finnish biochemist and his colleagues slipped some of their old
cultures under an electron microscope one day in 1988 and took a closer
look. That's when they saw the particles. Like bacteria but an astonishing
100 times smaller, they seemed to be thriving inside the dying cells.
Believing them to be a possible new form of life, Kajander named the
particles "nanobacteria," published a paper outlining his findings and
spurred one of the biggest controversies in modern microbiology.
At the heart of the debate is the question of whether nanobacteria could
actually be a new form of life. To this day, critics argue that a particle
just 20 to 200 nanometers in diameter can't possibly harbor the components
necessary to sustain life. The particles are also incredibly resistant to
heat and other methods that would normally kill bacteria, which makes some
scientists wonder if they might be an unusual form of crystal rather than
More information about the paleopsych