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Virovore

  • 04 Jan 2023
  • 2 min read

Why in News?

Researchers have found the first known "Virovore," or organism that eats viruses.

  • The new findings may change our understanding of the role viruses play in the food chain at a microscopic level.

What is Virovore?

  • It has been identified as an actual species of protist that feasts on viruses.
  • These virus-eating species of protists — which are their own kingdom on the tree of life and are not an animal, plant, or fungi — are now classified as Virovores.
  • It is a species of Halteria - microscopic ciliates that populate freshwater worldwide.
    • The microbe Halteria is a common genus of protist known to flit about as its hair-like cilia propel it through the water.
  • They're made up of nucleic acids, nitrogen, and phosphorus. It can eat huge numbers of infectious chloroviruses that share their aquatic habitat.
    • Chloroviruses are known to infect microscopic green algae.
  • These organisms can sustain themselves with viruses, consuming many and growing in size.
  • A virus-only diet, termed "virovory," is enough to fuel the physiological growth and even population growth of an organism.

Source: HT

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