OCT 17, 2018 10:51 AM PDT

The Science Behind Tardigrade's Ability to Survive Dehydration

WRITTEN BY: Daniel Duan

Tardigrades, also known as water bears, are a type of eight-legged micro-animals that are less than half-millimeter in length.  There are over a thousand species under the same phylum, most of which are capable of surviving unthinkably harsh conditions, such as extreme heat and cold (-200 degree Celsius to the boiling point of water), extreme pressures (0 to 1,200 atmospheric pressure), dehydration and intense radiation.

To unravel the mystery of tardigrade's amazing survivability, a team of U.S. and Italian researchers looked into what happens when the micro-animal is getting dehydrated. They found that the tardigrades undergo a process called vitrification--their body turns into a glass-like solid. A family of proteins called TDPs, expressed by the tiny critter, fill up the cytoplasm as its bodily water evaporates. The TDPs can stop the cellular structure from collapsing, which allow the tardigrades to come back to life once their environmental humidity improves. 

Source: ACS Reactions via Youtube

About the Author
  • Graduated with a bachelor degree in Pharmaceutical Science and a master degree in neuropharmacology, Daniel is a radiopharmaceutical and radiobiology expert based in Ottawa, Canada. With years of experience in biomedical R&D, Daniel is very into writing. He is constantly fascinated by what's happening in the world of science. He hopes to capture the public's interest and promote scientific literacy with his trending news articles. The recurring topics in his Chemistry & Physics trending news section include alternative energy, material science, theoretical physics, medical imaging, and green chemistry.
You May Also Like
MAR 31, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
Can superconductor materials be produced under ambient pressures?
MAR 31, 2021
Can superconductor materials be produced under ambient pressures?
A new study published in Physical Review Letters reports on the development of the fabrication of superconducting materi ...
APR 08, 2021
Space & Astronomy
The Stardust That Made Us & Our Planet
APR 08, 2021
The Stardust That Made Us & Our Planet
You may know that the human body is made up of elements that almost all originated in stars, and many of those elements ...
APR 09, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
Is human hair the key to making perovskites solar cells more efficient?
APR 09, 2021
Is human hair the key to making perovskites solar cells more efficient?
Researchers from the Queensland University of Technology have designed a new technique to enhance solar cell efficiency ...
JUN 05, 2021
Space & Astronomy
Did Heat from Asteroids Provide the Building Blocks for Life on Earth?
JUN 05, 2021
Did Heat from Asteroids Provide the Building Blocks for Life on Earth?
Researchers from Kobe University in Japan have found that heat generated by the impact of small astronomical bodies coul ...
JUN 01, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
"Candy" models allow the visually impaired to visualize complex 3D images with tongue
JUN 01, 2021
"Candy" models allow the visually impaired to visualize complex 3D images with tongue
New research hopes to improve accessibility to science for people who are blind or visually impaired. Approximately 36 m ...
JUN 12, 2021
Chemistry & Physics
The next bioplastic: plant-based spider silk
JUN 12, 2021
The next bioplastic: plant-based spider silk
A team of researchers from the University of Cambridge has designed and developed a new plastic alternative made from pl ...
Loading Comments...