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Nitric oxide radicals are emitted by wasp eggs to kill mold fungi (elifesciences.org)
59 points by bookofjoe 14 days ago | hide | past | web | favorite | 6 comments



Since the domain was unknown to me, and there was suddenly two stories from them on the front page, I was a bit skeptical that this was some low-quality publisher.

But "eLife was founded in 2011 by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society and the Wellcome Trust ", so they seem legit.


Your sinuses also produce NO theorized to have the same antimicrobial effect as well as a sort of regulatory hormone as the gas is inhaled.


It's well known that reactive oxygen species (ROS) and reactive nitrogen species (RNS) are used to fend off both infection and non-cooperative host cells i.e. cancerous cells.

But nitric oxide (NO) can spontaneously react to nitrite (NO2-) and nitrate (NO3-), and nitrate can actually be used as an electron acceptor by some bacteria in mouse intestines. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3705454/)

The article points out that wasps transfer protective bacteria to their larvae, so it could have been that secreting NO is really just an indirect way of cultivating more of these helpful bacteria. However, they showed that the protective effect against mold was the same whether or not nitrate was present, which shows that the mechanism really is direct killing of the mold by the eggs themselves!


I believe you are conflating Nitric Oxide (NO) with Nitric Oxide Radicals (NO•). While Nitric Oxide isn't stable in the presence of Oxygen, Nitric Oxide Radicals will react with pretty much any species they come into contact with. From the viewpoint of an organism, they are more useful as a weapon than as any sort of controlled energy source.


reminds me of the dynamics of survival whereby yeast has evolved to exude alcohol to thwart off bacteria as they both attempt to colonize a food source like some fallen apple


Indeed it has been suggested that early forms of life produced oxygen as toxin as an evolutionary advantage.




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