Source: The post is based on the article “What is ‘virovore’: An organism that eats viruses discovered” published in Hindustan Times on 4th January 2023
What is the News?
Researchers have found the first known “Virovore”, an organism that eats viruses.
What is Virovore?
A virovore is an organism which obtains energy and nutrients from the consumption of viruses.
Scientists were conducting research to find out whether any microbes actively eat viruses.
They found a species of Halteria. These are microscopic ciliates that populate freshwater throughout the world. These can eat huge numbers of infectious chloroviruses. Both share an aquatic habitat.
What is the significance of this finding?
This marks a first-of-its-kind finding which has shown that a virus-only diet, termed “virovory” is enough to fuel the physiological growth and even the population growth of an organism.
Hence, these new findings may change human understanding of the role viruses play in the food chain at a microscopic level.