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Researchers find cell that feeds on green algae

From A team of researchers led by the University of Nebraska–Lincoln has found that over the course of one day, in the placid waters of a single pond, a million virus particles might enter a single-celled organism known for its minuscule hairs (called “cilia”) that helps it propel through the water. According to the experts, those virus particles are far from being just a source of infection: they may in fact be a crucial part of the nutrition of these microscopic ciliates.

By collecting and analyzing samples of water from a pond in Nebraska, the scientists discovered that a species of Halteria – a microscopic ciliate populating freshwater worldwide – can eat enormous numbers of infectious chloroviruses which share their aquatic habitats. Thus, a virus-only diet – dubbed by the researchers “virovory” – is often enough to fuel the physiological and even population growth of an organism.

The original study was published by the National Academy of Sciences at

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