First Known “Virovore : Organism That Eats Virus
Researchers have found the first known “Virovore,” or organism that eats viruses.
- The new findings may change our understanding of the role viruses play in the food chain at a microscopic level.
- Virovore has been identified as an actual species of protist that feasts on viruses.
- These virus-eating species of protists — which are their own kingdom on the tree of life and are not an animal, plant, or fungi are now classified as Virovores.
- It is a species of Halteria ,microscopic ciliates that populate freshwater worldwide.
- The microbe Halteria is a common genus of protist known to flit about as its hair-like cilia propel it through the water.
- They’re made up of nucleic acids, nitrogen, and phosphorus.
- It can eat huge numbers of infectious chloroviruses that share their aquatic habitat.
- Chloroviruses are known to infect microscopic green algae.
- These organisms can sustain themselves with viruses, consuming many and growing in size.
- A virus-only diet, termed “virovory,” is enough to fuel the physiological growth and even population growth of an organism.