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A myriad micro organisms on our planet’s surface – and especially subsurface – live in the harshest, most extreme environments.  Boundary conditions have been pushed in every possible direction, encompassing broad swaths of temperature, pH, pressure, radiation, salinity, energy, and nutrient limitation. Their metabolic activity depends on their ability to acquire and eventually feed off metal ions. Over billions of years microorganisms have evolved and perfected their repertoire of molecular solutions to metal separation problems.

Cave Explorer

Lanmodulin, discovered and characterized in the academic laboratory of Joey binds to metals of the rare earth family with picomolar affinity and unprecedented selectivity (Cotruvo et al, JACS 2018). Lanmodulin was initially discovered in an extremophile micro organism call M. fumariolocum, which was abundant in a volcanic mud pot similar to the one depicted above. So unsurprisingly, Lanmodulin is stable across a wide range of temperatures and pHs. 

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