RMS Titanic Being Eaten By Bacteria (Includes Video Of Original Titanic)

RMS Titanic Being Eaten By Bacteria (Includes Video Of Original Titanic)

Dec 08


By Rossella Lorenzi
Discovery News
December 7, 2010

Original Link

A rust stain may be all that will remain of the RMS Titanic in 15 to 20 years, according to new research into the submerged ocean liner wreck.

Working at a depth of over two miles, a never-before-seen bacterial species is devouring the hull of the so-called “unsinkable ship” on the Atlantic seabed where it sank on April 15, 1912, killing 1,517 people.

Named Halomonas titanicae, the bacterium was isolated from samples of so-called rusticles present on the wreck.

These dark orange structures look like icicles but are made up of rust.

“The isolate was obtained from rusticle samples collected during the Akademic Keldysh expedition in 1991, at the site of the wreck,” Canadian and Spanish researchers write in the latest issue of the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology published on Dec. 8.

Removed from the hull using the articulated arm of the Mir 2 robotic submersible, the rusticles were transferred to plastic collection bags and transported aseptically to the surface to be analyzed.

Using DNA technology, the researchers discovered that the rusticles were formed by a combination of 27 different strains of bacteria.

Among the bacteria feasting on the Titanic, there was a brand new member of the salt-loving Halomonas genus.

“We don’t know yet whether Halomonas titanicae arrived aboard the RMS Titanic before or after it sank,” said lead researcher Henrietta Mann, at Dalhousie University, Halifax, Canada.

Able to adhere to steel surfaces, the new species has led to the formation of knob-like mounds of corrosion. Covered with such rust mounds, the wreck of the Titanic is at risk of disintegrating into dust, as the porous rusticles eventually dissolve into fine powder.

Discovered in 1985, about two miles below the ocean surface and some 329 miles southeast of Newfoundland, Canada, the wreck of the Titanic has been progressively deteriorating.

Originally made up of 50,000 tons of iron, the ship has dramatically split apart: the stern and the bow lie some 2,000 feet apart in opposite directions.

While potentially dangerous to underwater metal structures like shipwrecks, as well as offshore oil and gas pipelines, the newly discovered species could also offer positive applications for industry.

“The new specie of bacteria plays a significant part in the recycling of iron structures in deep ocean. It could be useful in the disposal old naval and merchant ships and oil rigs,” Mann told Discovery News.

According to Bhavleen Kaur, science educator at the Ontario Science Centre, Toronto, Canada, finding a new species is important, but even more exciting is the environment found in the rusticles.

“Out of the consortium of microbes, whose actions are responsible for the formation of rusticles on the Titanic wreck, Halomonas titanicae is the first to be fully characterized and named. How many more novel species are living within the rusticles? How did they get there or did they evolve within this artificially created mini-ecosystem?…These microbes can be an addition to the tool kit when we carry further investigations into corrosive processes,” Kaur told Discovery News.


Here is the only known video footage of  the Titanic under construction at the Harland and Wolff shipyards in Belfast. Construction, funded by J.P. Morgan’s International Mercantile Marine Co., began in March, 1909.

Some spectacular footage of the bow taken by Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution’s Advanced Imaging and Visualization Laboratory team with cameras mounted on Phoenix’s expertly piloted ROV.



Wikipedia on RMS Titanic



  1. Holly

    such a horrible disaster!!! 1,500 lives lost

  2. Amazing! This blog looks just like my old one! It’s on a entirely different topic but it has pretty much the same page layout and design. Great choice of colors!

  3. rajan

    i like ths film…

  4. Donna

    That’s is so sad and a shame that the ship wrecked. It should have sailed! They should rebuild another replicia of the Titanic in rememberence of the past ship. The rich and famous will sail it. And also people just keep the ship in the Cribbians and get the ship Blessed before it takes off on its maddin voage.

  5. it is so sad because people on the titanic died and some of the pasinjers didnt care :*(

  6. It was quite an elegant structure. The steel and rivets in the hull were however of weak constitution for economics thanks to J.P Morgan frugality which did not help the matter.

    It should be rebuilt and used properly in the future.

  7. what a disaster many people die maybe some old people childrens and baby let us pray for the people who died its a big disaster

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