Scientists revealed the mystery of the shellfish that sank the Spanish Armada and Columbus’ ship 16:18

An international team of scientists from the University of Massachusetts in the US, the University of Plymouth in the UK and other scientific institutions has uncovered the 2000-year-old mystery of wood-eating marine worms or teredenids (bivalves). The research was published in the scientific journal magazine International Biodegradation and Biological Degradation (IBB).

According to historical records, the Teredenids caused problems for the ancient Greek navy, contributing to the sinking of Christopher Columbus in 1492, sinking ships of the Spanish Armada, and occasionally collapsing docks in San Francisco Bay.

Until recently, scientists did not understand how worm-like molluscs could cause so much damage to wooden structures.

To digest wood, the body must be able to digest lignin, the strong fibers that surround the nutritious cellulose. Some creatures, such as termites, do this with the help of symbiotic bacteria in their guts. But the digestive system of shipworms was long thought to be virtually sterile.

In a new study, experts examined the worm’s intestines in detail and discovered a tiny organ called a “tiflosol” that appeared to be inhabited by symbiotic microbes. Previously, biologists believed that typhsolol also performed other functions and did not pay attention to it.

The analysis showed that tiflozole secretes enzymes that effectively destroy lignin.

The discovery not only solves a long-standing teredenide mystery, but could also lead to biotechnological applications for processing the hardest part of wood pulp, scientists say.

Previous scientists educated AI looks for worms in the patient’s stool samples.

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Source: Gazeta

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