Rust-eating bacteria attacking wreck of the Titanic

The bow of the Titanic at rest on the bottom of the North Atlantic, 400 miles southeast of Newfoundland. A new expedition to the famed ship will create the most detailed three-dimensional map of the wreck to date. AP Photo/Ralph White

Only last week did we learn of the existence of a new kind of microbe that feasts on arsenic. Now scientists say they have discovered a species of rust-eating ocean bacteria eating away at the wreck of the Titanic.

The bow of the Titanic at rest on the bottom of the North Atlantic, 400 miles southeast of Newfoundland. A new expedition to the famed ship will create the most detailed three-dimensional map of the wreck to date.
The bow of the Titanic at rest on the bottom of the North Atlantic, 400 miles southeast of Newfoundland. e.
AP Photo/Ralph White

In honor of their association with the famed ship, the micro-organisms are called "Halomonas titanicae."

The discovery was announced in the newest issue of the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology.

"In 1995, I was predicting that Titanic had another 30 years," Henrietta Mann, adjunct professor with the Department of Civil Engineering at Dalhouse Univeristy in Nova Scotia and co-author in the study, said in a statement. "But I think it's deteriorating much faster than that now ... Eventually there will be nothing left but a rust stain."

It's not just the Titanic's remains that are at risk. The MailOnline is reporting that the bacteria can adhere to steel surfaces, raising the possibility that it might present a threat to underwater-based structures, such as oil rigs. You can read more about the finding here.

Comments

Watch CBSN Live

Watch CBS News anytime, anywhere with the new 24/7 digital news network. Stream CBSN live or on demand for FREE on your TV, computer, tablet, or smartphone.

Watch Now

New Android App

For your Android phone and tablet, download the FREE redesigned app, featuring CBSN, live 24/7 news.

Download
The all new
CBS News App for Android® for iPad® for iPhone®
Fully redesigned. Featuring CBSN, 24/7 live news. Get the App