Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Bacteria in amber coal and clay in relation to lithopanspermia

  • Milton Wainwright (a1), Amar Laswd (a1) and Fawaz Alshammari (a1)

A study was undertaken to determine if amber, coal and clay samples contain bacteria, in relation to the possibility that rocks ejected from Earth might contain microorganisms capable of colonizing other planets. A technique for isolating bacteria from rocks was developed which excluded the possibility that any of the rock isolates resulted from contamination. Two species of Bacillus were found in the amber sample, and a species of the same genus was found in coal; bacilli were also commonly found in clay. It is concluded that species of the spore-forming genus Bacillus could therefore be ejected from Earth in these geological substrates and possibly be transferred elsewhere.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

A. Abbot (2001). Resuscitated ‘alien’ microbes stir up Italian storm, Nature 411, 229.

R.J. Cano & M.K. Borucki (1995). Revival and identification of bacterial spores in 25–40 million year old Dominican amber. Science 268, 10601064.

C.L. Greenblatt , A. Davis , B.G. Clement , C.L. Kitts , T. Cox & R.J. Cano (2000). Diversity of microorganisms isolated from amber. Microbial. Ecol. 38, 5868.

H.J. Melosh (2003). Exchange of meteorites (and life?) between stellar systems. Astrobiology 3, 207215.

C. Mileikowsky , F.A. Cucinotto , J.W. Wilson , B. Gladman & G. Horneck (2000). Risks threatening viable transfer of microbes between bodies in our solar system. Planetary Space Sci. 48, 11071115.

G.E. Myers & R.G.L. McCready (1966). Bacteria can penetrate rocks. Can. J. Microbiol. 12, 477484.

M. Wainwright (2003). A microbiologist looks at Panspermia. Astrophys. Space Sci. 285, 563570.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

International Journal of Astrobiology
  • ISSN: 1473-5504
  • EISSN: 1475-3006
  • URL: /core/journals/international-journal-of-astrobiology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *



Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 1
Total number of PDF views: 3 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 52 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 28th June 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.