Photosynthesis In the Dark
A new bacterium that grows at depths of over 8,000 feet below the ocean’s surface has been discovered. This discovery wouldn’t normally be very noteworthy except for the fact that none of the sun’s light reaches that depth, yet the bacterium makes its living through photosynthesis.
The emerald green organism was discovered off the Mexican coast in the Pacific Ocean. Named GSB1, the bacterium is what is classified as a green sulfur bacterium. These organisms thrive in a low oxygen, high sulfur environment. Those are the conditions found in deep-sea hydrothermal vents known as black smokers. These vents spew sulfur-rich, low oxygen hot water as hot as 750 degrees (F). Just as a hot stove burner emits a small amount of light, water this hot also emits a small amount of visible light. Most of the light is infrared, which cannot be used for photosynthesis. The visible portion of the light is so dim that it cannot be seen except through night goggles. Yet the bacterium manages to perform photosynthesis in this very dim glow. This is the only known organism that performs photosynthesis without sunlight.
We are still learning about the wonders of God’s unlimited creativity. However, His greatest wonder is His love, which led Him to send His only Son, Jesus Christ, to redeem us from sin, death and the devil.