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Bahan Bangunan Pentagon Dari Mikroba 340 Juta Tahun

Bahan bangunan beberapa blok Departemen Pertahanan Amerika Serikat (Pentagon) di Virginia dan Empire State Building di New York, Amerika Serikat, terbuat dari mikroba-mikroba (oolitic limestone) yang hidup sekitar 340 juta tahun silam pra-era dinosaurus.  Begitu hasil riset tim ahli yang dipimpin oleh Profesor Murray Batchelor asal Australian National University (ANU), yang dirilis oleh jurnal Scientific Reports, awal 2018 (Murray T. Batchelor, Robert V. Burne, Bruce I. Henry, Fei Li, Josef Paul, “A biofilm and organomineralisation model for the growth and limiting size of ooids”, Scientific Reports, 2018).

Selama ini bahan bangunan dari kapur oolitik (oolitic limestone) lazim di seluruh dunia dan terbentuk dari ukuran milimeter karbonat (oiids). Hasil riset tim ahli itu menemukan bahwa oiids terbentuk dari konsentrasi lapisan-lapisan mineralisasi mikroba dan menggugurkan teori populer (snowball theory) bahwa oiids terbentuk dari butir-butir mineral yang mengalir di dasar laut dan membentuk lapisan-lapisan sedimen (Science Daily, 19/1/2018).

“We have proposed a radically different explanation for the origin of ooids that explains their definitive features. Our research has highlighted yet another vital role that microbes play on Earth and in our lives. Many oolitic limestones form excellent building stones, because they are strong and lightweight. Mississippian oolite found in Indiana in the US has been used to build parts of the Pentagon in Virginia and parts of the Empire State Building in New York City. Jurassic oolite in England has been used to construct Buckingham Palace and much of the City of Bath, the British Museum and St Paul's Cathedral,” papar Dr. Bob Burne, co-researcher studi ilmiah ini dari Research School of Earth Sciences, ANU (Australian National University, 19/1/2019).

Hasil riset ini antara lain membantu lebih memahami dampak-dampak perubahan iklim selama ini. “Our mathematical model explains the concentric accumulation of layers, and predicts a limiting size of ooids. We considered the problem theoretically using an approach inspired by a mathematical model developed in 1972 for the growth of some brain tumours,” ungkap Profesor Batchelor dari Research School of Physics and Engineering  dan Mathematical Sciences Institute di ANU (Australian National University, 19/1/2019). 

Oleh: Servas Pandur