(CNN) – Scientists in California have discovered a new type of bacteria that eats metal.
Microbiologists from the California Institute of Technology were doing unrelated experiments when they made the discovery.
The scientists left a glass jar covered with manganese—a commonly found chemical element—to sink in tap water.
Scientists discovered that after a few months, the jar was coated with dark material. It was found to be oxidized manganese, which had been generated by newly-discovered bacteria likely found in the tap water.
Scientists believe this is the first bacteria to use manganese as an energy source.
The research was published in the Journal Nature.
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