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Gondolla
2012-Nov-14, 03:48 PM
A friend of mine was telling me about some microscopic organism that chews on the hulls of submarines. He said it has a face like a cheese grater and eats atoms... Verbatim.

He called it a Cetonad or kitonat...I'm not sure how to spell it and didn't get a chance to ask. This is probably why I can't find anything about it. That or he is making it up.

Anyway I thought it wise to ask a community far more knowledgable than myself. Please help?

geonuc
2012-Nov-14, 04:34 PM
I don't recall anything like that with the sub I was on. We had to sandblast the hull frequently to get rid of the barnacles and stuff, but I don't think anything was actually eating the hull.

Ivan Viehoff
2012-Nov-14, 04:49 PM
A friend of mine was telling me about some microscopic organism that chews on the hulls of submarines. He said it has a face like a cheese grater and eats atoms...
Anything that eats, eats atoms.
Lampreys and hagfish have a face like a cheese-grater, but they eat other animals, not ship's hulls.

There are deep-sea bacteria that consume rust, and which thus speed up the decay of deep-sea wrecks of iron/steel ships. http://www.livescience.com/9079-species-rust-eating-bacteria-destroying-titanic.html
There are also bacteria that speed up the rusting of metal.

As far as I am aware, defouling of hulls is mainly for the purpose of avoiding the drag of carrying the load.

Gondolla
2012-Nov-14, 05:12 PM
Anything that eats, eats atoms.
Lampreys and hagfish have a face like a cheese-grater, but they eat other animals, not ship's hulls.

There are deep-sea bacteria that consume rust, and which thus speed up the decay of deep-sea wrecks of iron/steel ships. http://www.livescience.com/9079-species-rust-eating-bacteria-destroying-titanic.html
There are also bacteria that speed up the rusting of metal.

As far as I am aware, defouling of hulls is mainly for the purpose of avoiding the drag of carrying the load.

I said Verbatim. Its what my friend told me. I know anything that eats, eats atoms. I figured putting the whole quote (plus or minus a few forgotten bits) would help. Like maybe he read an article somewhere that someone else might also have seen. He said microscopic so probably just a form of the bacteria you mention...Wait now I'm getting a second opinion. Apparently what he meant to say was that it eats on an atomic level? I don't really know what that means.

Nifty link though, thank you!

So you have never heard of anything pronounced 'key-toe-nat'? Thats what I'm really trying to figure out. Please ignore the game of telephone being played on my end.

schlaugh
2012-Nov-14, 05:18 PM
Could he be talking about rusticles? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rusticle

The rusticles are formed from microbes eating the iron on sunken ships. One such is Halomonas titanicae (and yes I looked that up).

Ivan Viehoff
2012-Nov-14, 05:32 PM
Could he be talking about rusticles? http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rusticle
The rusticles are formed from microbes eating the iron on sunken ships. One such is Halomonas titanicae (and yes I looked that up).
Snap: Halomonas titanicae was the subject of the article I linked to. But it lives symbiotically in the rusticle, rather than being responsible for forming it. The article you link mentions that fungi and other microbes help facilitate the corrosion to the rusticle.

Sorry, no help with the ketonat-sounding word.

ShinAce
2012-Nov-14, 06:36 PM
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chiton

They don't eat the hull, nor atoms. They're not microscopic either.

They do eat diatoms though! Diatoms are microscopic animals. And they do scrape surfaces. They also have 'key-ton' as a name.

Close, but no cigar.

ravens_cry
2012-Nov-14, 08:17 PM
I know that Cookie Cutter Sharks (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cookiecutter_shark#Human_interactions) are known for taking chunks out of the neoprene boots for sonar domes on subs, but they aren't microscopic nor do they attack the hull directly.

SkepticJ
2012-Nov-14, 10:06 PM
There's Teredo (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shipworm) "worms". They don't eat metal, but wood, and used to be a bane to ships.

No known animals consume metals beyond the trace amounts found in their food, mineral licks, etc.

Either your friend is confused ("eats atoms" would seem to lend weight to that interpretation), or he's pulling your leg.

The steel that submarines are made of is pretty strong, pretty hard stuff. Tougher than any biological material. So with what kind of teeth and muscles can they bite into it with?

NavySEAL
2012-Nov-15, 03:21 AM
To the best of my knowledge modern subs have a layer of sound proofing material on their hulls. Not all but most. Kind of like tire rubber. Maybe some critter like to munch that stuff. I have never seen this problem or heard SEALs discuss it.

Shaula
2012-Nov-15, 08:11 AM
To the best of my knowledge modern subs have a layer of sound proofing material on their hulls. Not all but most. Kind of like tire rubber. Maybe some critter like to munch that stuff. I have never seen this problem or heard SEALs discuss it.
Just about everything that you want to be useful in a war at sea has them these days: (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Anechoic_tile) as their effect on radiated noise is so dramatic. They do fall off and you do have some metal exposed though.

Gondolla
2012-Dec-09, 06:34 AM
Pff. please ignore the eats atoms bit. I think he was trying to dramatically explain something else about the critter. I know these things have something to do with metal. They could be a part of those iron eating bacteria. Maybe he didn't mean they actually eat metal but that they can go through it. Are there any tiny organisms that could possibly drill through metal over time? Aside form the afore mentioned bacteria?

Speaking of those bacteria I can't seem to find a complete list of their names anywhere.