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Snowflakes Form Around Bacteria

Armen Hareyan's picture

Snowflakes appear to form around bacteria. Long before scientists knew that clouds are being formed around ice nuclei - particles that serve as a surface for ice crystals forming around. Well known nucleator is dust. This is the first time that scientists consider biological material as nucleator.

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A team of scientists from Louisiana State University studied snowflakes from Yukon , Antarctica, Montana and France . They melted snow and found inorganic dust to be the mostly contained nucleator. Those crystals formed above 14 degrees Fahrenheit were found to have biological particles in base.

France and Montana samples included 100 biological nucleators, this accounts as 85% of samples. Yukon comes the third with bacteria percentage, and even Antarctica showed bacterial nucleators.

The most common bacteria was found to be Pseudomonas syringae, which causes numerous diseases to plants. Researchers are now trying to solve a dilemma whether to cut Pseudomonas syringae to protect plants or let the bacteria to serve as a surface for rain and snow.