Manganese-munching microbes

The Borrelia bacteria that cause the potentially debilitating Lyme disease spread by biting ticks are the first organism to be identified as not requiring iron to survive. Instead, the bacteria utilize manganese in their enzymes, which means they do not succumb to the systems in our immune system that attempt to kill pathogens by starving them of iron. The discovery made by a collaboration involving scientists at Johns Hopkins University, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and the University of Texas could lead to novel treatments for this infectious disease that has become widespread across the Northern Hemisphere.