What we can learn from an ant

By sheiler on

Not enough gas for the family car?  Let’s grow us some biofuels!

Scientists are looking to a certain ant from the forest for instruction on how to use bacteria to make biofuel.

They think that if humans were a little more like ants we might possibly be able to grow our way out of oil shortages and the high prices.

Leafcutter ants haul leaves that drop to the ground back to their farms.  Their fungi farms.  They use these leaves to grow a certain fungus for dinner.  What scientists have recently discovered was that the ants also use bacteria to either grow the fungi along with the leaves, or possibly use as a digestive aid.  They’re not sure yet.

What is a fungus?  Many fungusesesesseses are called Fungi.  They are tiny organisms that help to break down – decompose – organic matter.  You have seen fungi in the grocery store in the form of Mushrooms!  Yeast in bread!  Some strains can be toxic to be humans.  Ants eat the fungus they grow from the leaves.

What is bacteria?  A bunch of bacterium, tiny single-cell organisms.  They are present almost every where you can think of looking.  In your belly.  In the water.  In the soil.  Bacteria are vital in recycling nutrients.   They provide the nutrients needed to sustain life by converting dissolved compounds such as methane.

The scientists want to understand how the bacteria transform the leaves in the ant farm into energy.

Read more here:

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/sciencetech/article-2108621/The-tiny-gardeners-Minute-leafcutter-ants-tend-plots-fungi–use-bacteria-compost-leaves.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

And here:

http://www.nature.com/ismej/journal/vaop/ncurrent/full/ismej201210a.html