Nanobes and Nanobacteria - Advanced Collection

Compiled for professionals and advanced learners, this nanobe and nanobacteria collection includes online resources such as journal articles, academic reviews, and surveys.
Small, nanometer-scale spheroidal and ovoid features were first discovered in carbonate minerals forming in hot springs. Robert Folk claims these structures are made by nannobacterial biomineralization. Photo courtesy of R. Folk's Nannobacteria Photo Gallery.
  • An alternative interpretation of nanobacteria-induced biomineralization. This PNAS Microbiology scholarly paper discusses alternative explanations for "nanobe structures" found in the human body that are thought to contribute to tooth and arterial plaque. Their findings contest studies that claim to have cultured nanobacteria, claiming that their laboratory colonies are indistinguishable from a common contaminant. The full text article may require a subscription to PNAS. (more info)
  • Evidence of Ancient Martian Life in Meteorite ALH84001?. This NASA website provides a summary of a study led by NASA's David McKay that may provide evidence for past life on Mars. McKay and his team found carbonate globule features on the ALH84001 meteorite that appear to be nanofossils. In addition, secondary mineral phases and hydrocarbons provide further evidence for past life. The website features color photographs as well as links to related web pages. (more info)
  • Magnetite morphology and life on Mars . This National Academy of Sciences scholarly paper discusses the strongest line of evidence for past life on Mars based on NASA's David McKay's original claims of finding nanofossils on the ALH84001 meteorite. This study concentrates on magnetite morphology, comparing morphologies of bacterial and abiotically produced magnetite. The findings are inconclusive, but do not strongly support evidence for biotically produced magnetite. The article features color images of the crystallography. While the abstract is free, this article may require a subscription to access the full text. (more info)
  • Nanobacteria: not a life form?. This Natural Science article examines the issue of whether or not nanobacteria should be considered living organisms. Finnish scientists have reported a partial characterization of nanobacterial ribosomal RNA, thereby providing evidence that nanobacteria are actual life forms. However, other studies have shown that previous structures thought to be nanobacteria cells and "dwellings" can be recreated as inanimate structures using the culturing media used for nanobacterial cultures. The article features links to related articles. (more info)
  • Nanobacteria: surely not figments, but what under heaven are they? . This Natural Science article, written by the "Father of Nannobacteria," introduces the dilemma of what nannobacteria are and whether or not they should be considered living organisms. It includes an introduction to nannobacteria, information about their discovery and occurrence, and a brief discussion and overview of problems involving classification of nannobacteria. The site also features pictures of nannobacteria. ( This site may be offline. )
  • Nanobes. This series of interconnected websites contains information regarding Nanobes - a research team led by Dr. Philippa Uwins of the University of Queensland. It features a descriptive introduction of nanobes and links to Dr. Uwins' nanobe research team, their published papers, images, and other related resources. (more info)
  • Nanobiology. This Natural Science website contains links to articles associated with nanobes and nanobacteria from various accredited sources. A short summary is included after each entry. ( This site may be offline. )
  • Novel nano-organisms from Australian sandstones. This American Mineralogist scholarly paper (PDF format) reports the detection of living colonies of nano-organisms (nanobes) on Triassic and Jurassic sandstones and other substrates. Dr. Philippa Uwins and her research team discovered the nanobe structures while conducting research on Australian sandstones. Here they analyze the nanobes by microscopy (scanning and transmission electron microscopy), X-ray spectroscopy, and molecular staining (e.g. DAPI, Acridine Orange, and Feulgen staining). The article features color and black and white photomicrographs. (more info)
  • SEM imaging of bacteria in carbonate sediments and rocks. This Journal of Sedimentary Petrology scholarly paper details the findings of Robert Folk, the "father of nannobacteria." Folk is credited with discovering nanobe structures in carbonate rocks, which he attributes to biomineralization processes by tiny life forms. The full-text article may require a subscription to the Journal of Sedimentary Research and/or Geoscience World. (more info)
  • Search for Past Life on Mars: Possible Relic Biogenic Activity in Martian Meteorite ALH84001. This Science magazine article documents possible evidence of nanofossils found on Martian meteorite ALH84001. The research team, led by NASA's David McKay, found carbonate globules that are similar to those found in some terrestrial bacterially induced carbonate precipitates on Earth. Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) and secondary minerals and textures in the meteorite provide further evidence of past Martian biota. The article features color photographs and graphs as well as links to a collection of articles that cite this paper. A subscription may be required to access the full text. (more info)
  • Size Limits of Very Small Microorganisms Proceedings of a Workshop. This National Academy of Sciences web page provides links to discussions and papers regarding whether or not nanobacteria may be considered life forms based on size constraints. The papers and discussions follow a two-day workshop involving four panel discussions held in October of 1998. In addition to papers and discussions, the site includes links to an overview of the workshop’s goals and an image version of the report. (more info)

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Additional Resources

For additional resources about nanobes and nanobacteria, search the Microbial Life collection.