Thumbnail Image

Life Unknown: Preliminary Scheme for a Magnetotrophic Organism

Schulze-Makuch, Dirk; Irwin, Louis N.

No magnetotrophic organism on Earth is known to use magnetic fields as an energy source or the storage of information. However, a broad diversity of life forms is sensitive to magnetic fields and employs them for orientation and navigation, among other purposes. If the magnetic field strength were much larger, such as that on planets around neutron stars or magnetars, metabolic energy could be obtained from these magnetic fields in principle. Here, we introduce three hypothetical models of magnetotrophic organisms that obtain energy via the Lorentz force. Even if an organism uses magnetic fields only as an energy source, but otherwise is relying on biochemistry, this organism would be by definition a magnetotrophic form of life as we do not know it.
Published in: Life, 10.3390/life13071446, MDPI