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Microbes in Geology
by Earl Staelin
Copyright, July, 2002

The Amazing Role of Microbes in Geology: Are Biological Transmutations involved?

EXCERPTS:

The past twenty years has witnessed a revolution in geology—the discovery that microorganisms or microbes play a major role in many geological processes in the crust of the earth. The evidence goes back over 200 years ... [forcing] Geologists to take a new look at old problems in which microbes appear to play a prominent part. [Among these are] the formation of limestone, petrified wood and bone; the formation of elements such as hydrogen, carbon, oxygen, magnesium, calcium, silica, aluminum, phosphorus, chlorine, and sulphur; the formation of heavy metals such as iron, manganese, silver, and gold, the origin of geodes, and the formation of natural gas and other hydrocarbons. In recognition of these discoveries university departments are popping up with new names such as geomicrobiology. Some of these startling findings challenge our understanding of certain laws of physics and thermodynamics as applied to biology, because it appears that the nuclei of elements may be altered and recombined so as to produce other elements.

Henry Ehrlich, author of the textbook GEOMICROBIOLOGY said "we're still at the very beginning of understanding how microbes shaped the planet." (NY Times, 10/15/96). Stephen Jay Gould has written with approval and considerable awe over such evidence in his book Full House, and cites evidence that microbes in the earth's crust and ocean live up to several miles deep in the earth's crust, in temperatures up to 650 F, and under pressures up to 265 atmospheres (Full House, p. 189). Microbes may even outweigh all other living matter including trees. As William J. Broad, science writer for the New York Times wrote:

"In hundreds and perhaps thousands of cases, scientists are discovering that microbes dwelling up to miles deep in the planetary crust are responsible for creating and arranging the rocks, seas, gases, metals and minerals that make up the Earth's surface." (William J. Broad, "Microbes likely had vital role in shaping Earth's outer crust", New York Times, Oct. 15, 1996.)

According to William A. Fyfe, an environmental geochemist at the University of Western Ontario, 20 years ago there were about 40 or 50 compounds that were known to be made or amassed by microbes, sometimes as excreta or body parts, just as humans concentrate calcium to make teeth and bones. "Today the number is hundreds" he said. "Every time we look harder, we find more." (Broad, NY Times, ibid.)

Thomas Gold, eminent scientist at Cornell University, originator in 1948 with Hoyle and Bondi of the steady state universe theory (which may be making a comeback), and the theory that pulsars are neutron stars, has written a recent book that gives significant support to the role of microorganisms in geological processes. (Gold, The Deep Hot Biosphere (1999) p. 131). He says:

"Indeed the problem is so great that answers are promoted piecemeal-some chemical reactions are proposed for the solution and deposition of one metal, and a different set is proposed for another. Piecemeal answers are especially questionable when there is a group of metals involved, and a different path is proposed for each of them., yet they are often packed closely together." (p. 132)

The scientific evidence shows that microbes play a major role in a wide variety of geological and paleontological formations, and mineral and hydrocarbon deposits, and that they often perform these transformations rapidly, that is, within a few years, or even in weeks or days. Let's begin by looking at some of the well documented roles of microbes in geology.

Limestone gets its name because of the high percentage of calcium or lime in it. Ehrlich's textbook contains a detailed discussion and excellent microscopic photos of numerous bacteria, fungi, and lichens inhabiting and altering limestone. (3rd Ed., pp. 200-204). It appears that microbes also may play a major role in the creation of limestone, which I will discuss later.

Preservation of Fossils

British and French scientists propose that microbes are responsible for the preservation of ancient soft tissues, by turning them into rock. (Wilby, P.R., Briggs, D.E.G., Riou, B.,

"Mineralization of soft-bodied invertebrates in a Jurassic metalliferous deposit," Geology, September, 1996, v. 24, no. 9, pp. 847-850). When the bacteria form apatite, the fossil is preserved at the subcellular, microscopic level. (Apatite is the chief mineral, a form of calcium phosphate, from which our bones are composed) "(W)here soft tissues are preserved in pyrite [iron sulfide] and other minerals, only their outline usually survives. A progressive sequence of fossilization caused by microbes appears as follows: apatite [calcium phosphate] calcite [calcium carbonate] ± gypsum [calcium sulfate] pyrite [iron sulfide] ± chalcopyrite [copper iron sulfide] galena [lead sulfide]. Laboratory experiments show that the mineralization of soft tissues in apatite occurs within two to four weeks after death". (p. 849) (Parenthetical matter [] added). Transformation of apatite to other minerals also occurred at an early stage. (loc. cit.).

Petrified Wood

In 1975 Richard F. Leo published his Ph.D. thesis at Harvard entitled Silification of Wood. He found that silification of wood may occur rather rapidly, such as a wood specimen taken by Leo from a spring in Yellowstone Park, Wyoming which the author said could not have been in the spring more than 13 years, since the spring came into being 13 years before as a result of an earthquake. The author speculates about the mechanism of silification or petrification, and reaches no firm conclusions. He did not seriously consider the role of microbes, perhaps because it was not until several years later that knowledge of the role of microbes in geological processes became more widespread. However, he says that the presence of water is necessary for the process. Of course water would also be necessary for microbes. Leo assumes that silica comes into the tree from outside, however, such as from sand deposits in which the tree rests. Later experiments using bacteria or yeasts such as the residue of beer to cause petrification of wood have reported petrification within three years. These experiments used wood soaked in beer-making residue and embedded in sand. The moisture must be sufficient for the microbes but not so great as to cause the wood to rot. Leo points out that "beer, due to the malt husk, is essentially a saturated solution of silica," citing Iler, 1955 (p. 74). Of course fossilized trees would not have been immersed in beer.

There is another potential source of petrified silica in the wood itself, which I will discuss later, and which might better explain why the subcellular structure of the wood or of fossils is often preserved than the assumption that the silica migrated from outside the wood.

Gold and Silver

The Serra Pelada is a famous gold field in the Amazon jungle, where prospectors have extracted more than 100 tons of gold since it was discovered in the early 1980's. Scientists concluded that the rich lode was produced by swarms of microbes that "concentrated" the gold from soils, rivers, and rocks (Broad, supra). Southam and associates made some excellent microscopic photos of gold octahedral crystals produced by microbes. In one study ionic gold was transformed in several steps by bacteria into crystalline octahedral gold containing 85% gold. In the latter two stages the gold increased from 75% to 85%, while sulfur declined from 9% to 1%, and phosphorus decreased from 14% to 10%. (Gordon Southam and Terrance J. Beveridge,

"The occurrence of sulfur and phosphorus within bacterially derived crystalline and pseudocrystalline octahedral gold formed in vitro," (Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Vol. 60, No. 22, pp. 4369-4376, 1966).

The roughly 13% increase in gold within a short period of time, accompanied by comparable decreases in S and P is an interesting finding that may reflect a complex transmutation into gold, possibly involving sulfur and phosphorus. When the experiment was extended to four weeks at room temperature, or when the temperature was raised from room temperature to 60 C or 90 C, the octahedral gold was increased. The ionic gold used at the start of the experiment killed the bacteria within seconds, and the bacteria had to be replenished. Octahedral gold is an important constituent of placer gold, which forms nuggets. The octahedral gold contains spheres representing the bacteria. The authors state:

"The gold has increased in size one thousandfold and now dominates the bacterial cells they were once inside." (p. 4528) (Southam and Beveridge, "The in vitro formation of placer gold by bacteria", Geochimica et Cosmochimica Acta, Vol. 58, No. 20, pp. 4527-4530, 1994). (Southam is a biologist at Northern Arizona University, and Beveridge is a microbiologist at University of Guelph, Ontario, Canada.

Thomas Gold points out that gold in mineral deposits is concentrated "a million or even a hundred million times greater than in the source of composite from which it came". (Ibid., p. 131). He says:

"Indeed the problem is so great that answers are promoted piecemeal-some chemical reactions are proposed for the solution and deposition of one metal, and a different set is proposed for another. Piecemeal answers are especially questionable when there is a group of metals involved, and a different path is proposed for each of them., yet they are often packed closely together." (p. 132)

It appears that silver may also be produced by microbes. I took a photo of a rock at the Colorado School of Mines museum. The silver deposit in the rock is shaped like deposits produced by lichens or other microbes. That would be consistent with Ehrlich's and Southam's findings regarding gold deposits and microbes.

Probably the high pressures (up to 265 atmospheres) and temperatures (up to 650 F) deep within the earth provide added energy that helps cause such reactions, as Gold believes, although he says that the cost to do studies at such pressures and temperatures is rather prohibitive. These pressures also allow water to be liquid at temperatures far exceeding the boiling point, and far exceeding 451 degrees F, which is the temperature at which a match will cause a piece of paper to catch on fire.

Such a liquid or flow state appears to be essential for life, whereas temperatures and pressures may vary widely. Gold also says:

"It is generally believed that microbes can build concentrated deposits of a wide variety of minerals" (ibid., p. 138, citing Barry S.C. Leadbeater and Robert Riding, eds. Biomineralization in Lower Plants and Animals.", Clarendon, Oxford, England, p. 4; also Lynn Margulis and Dorion Sagan, What is Life? Simon and Schuster, N.Y., 1995.

Other mineral deposits

Here are a few more examples of the hundreds of other mineral deposits that the evidence indicates were formed by microbes: Magnetite; phosphates; carbonates; sulfates; metal sulfides (pyrite, galena [lead sulfide]); quartz; clay; graphite; etc., copper ores, iron ore, vanadium, nickel, etc. Natural gas, hydrocarbons, and petroleum. Anna M. Martini and co- workers at the University of Michigan and Martin Schoell of Chevron studied deposits of methane in the Antrim shale along the northern margin of the Michigan basin at depths of less than 600 meters and found evidence that significant volumes of bacterial gas were generated, supplementing previous findings that methane of bacterial origin is "ubiquitous in marine and fresh water sediments," though mainly at depths of several kilometres in basins that had high sedimentation rates. Anna M. Martini, et al., "Microbial generation of economic accumulations of methane within a shallow organic-rich shale," (Nature, Vol. 383, 155-158, Sept. 12, 1996). The gases from the Antrim shale vary from pure methane to approximately 5% hydrocarbons with two or more carbon atoms.

The authors conclude:

"Non-conventional gas resources, such as coal beds and organic rich shales have largely been attributed to thermogenic (i.e. non-microbial) processes, yet they may contain far more microbial gas than previously believed" (ibid., p. 157). (that is, microbes produce a lot of methane and some longer chain hydrocarbons)

Radioactivity.

Scientists have found bacteria that can withstand lethal levels of radioactivity. One example is a bacterium that can support ten million roentgens (x-ray units of measure) for eight hours, or 20,000 times the mortal dose for humans of 500 roentgens. This bacterium, of the Pseudomonas type, was discovered in 1958 in Los Alamos in the water of a nuclear reactor. "It liked the medium so much that it reproduced every twenty minutes." (Kervran, Swan House Pub., p. 111). In a reactor in Lucas Heights, Australia, there were two million bacteria per cubic cm. However, only 1,000 of these bacteria were left when the heavy water came out of the reactor. Micrococcus radiodurans resists 3,000 times the mortal dose for mammals (ibid., p. 113).

A research study showed that radioactive mercury 203 diminished much more rapidly than expected due to the action of bacteria. Radioactive mercury 203 has a half life of 46 days. However, Magos and co-workers showed that after a period of 16 hours of normal degradation there was thereafter a much more rapid disappearance of mercury 203 which was very great at 48 hours.

The researchers reasoned that microbes might have caused the excess diminution because the great increase only occurred after an "incubation" period of about 16 hours. (Kervran, Beekman Pub., pp. 78-79; L. Magos, Tuffrey and T.W. Clarkson, "Volatilization of Mercury by Bacteria," Brit. J. Ind. Med., Oct. 1964, pp. 294-98).

Kervran notes that including toluene or penicillin in the medium prevents any excess diminution of mercury, and that the term "volatilization" that was assumed by the researchers to explain the diminution is unlikely given that mercury boils at 360 degrees C and its vapor pressure is very low at even at 40 to 50 degrees C, whereas the experiments were conducted at 20 degrees C (68 F). Also, certain bacteria were very active in the media (Kervran, Beekman Pub. pp. 78-81; Swan House Pub., 111-113).

The fact that bacteria can withstand enormous temperatures, pressures, and levels of radioactivity makes it more probable that bacteria may be found in comparable conditions on other planets, meteorites, comets, and moons, thus supporting the conclusions of some scientists that microbes were found on rocks from Mars, the Allende meteorite that fell in Mexico in 1967, and rocks from the moon, as Thomas Gold asserts. Actually, the eminent Fred Hoyle long ago advanced the position that microbes live in such conditions and may be transported to other bodies by comets, etc.

A microscopic photo was taken of apparent bacteria in the Allende meteorite in Mexico.

Part 2

Microbes in Geology

How do microbes concentrate minerals to levels vastly exceeding the surrounding medium? The theory of biological transmutations.

The next question, is HOW DO microbes concentrate minerals to levels much higher than the medium in which they live? Do they make limestone out of sandstone or mud containing mostly silica and little calcium? How do they concentrate gold up to 100 million times the surrounding medium? How do they concentrate manganese, iron, magnesium, etc.? Where do the elements that dominate the crust of the earth come from, since they were apparently not present during the pre-Cambrian era? Actually, most prominent scientists often admit that they do not yet understand how microbes concentrate minerals and elements to such a high degree. In this uncertainty I believe that it is wise to keep an open mind, and to be willing to investigate new theories that may explain such puzzling phenomena.

One expert who devoted a great deal of attention to the question of how microbes or living organisms concentrate elements was a French biologist named Louis Kervran, whose exceptional work I believe is worth careful examination. After many years of investigation he published a theory in 1960 which he called biological transmutations. His theory contends that living organisms are actually able to transmute one element to another.

He concluded that they do this through a catalytic effect caused by enzymes and hormones, and by several routes —such as by combining two elements, by splitting an element, or by the movement of a proton and neutron from one atom to another atom within a molecule. He published meticulous experiments that supported his position. In 1975 he was nominated for and nearly won the Nobel Prize for his work. However, he died in 1983 at the age of 82, and therefore under the rules for the Nobel, could no longer receive it. A number of his findings and one of his books dealt primarily with geology.

Let's see how he proved his theory as applied to the problem of the formation of limestone, and the problem of the "concentration" of minerals. Kervran performed studies that showed an unsuspected formation of limestone in the sandstone monuments in Ankhor, Cambodia, including Ankhor Wat. Kervran, as a high government official in France, had access to a multidisciplinary team of experts. The original pink sandstone at Ankhor Wat contains substantial quantities of silica in the form of quartz and feldspar, but little calcium. However, some portions were found to be infected with bacteria. The infected sandstone appeared to be turning into limestone. Here are some of their research findings based upon 120 samples:

  SiO2 CaO
Normal stone 63.0% 1.40%
Deteriorated stone 35.8% 17.34%

(Angkor Wat, external facing; Kervran, Beekman Pub, pp. 48-49)

Thus, as silica disappears, calcium appears, the decrease in silica from 63 to 36 being equivalent to the increase in calcium from 1.4 to 17.34. As Kervran shows, if silica can combine with carbon at the level of the nucleus, then calcium could be formed. In other words: Si28 + C12 = Ca40.

Kervran's group analyzed the rainwater on the monument to test whether this increase in calcium had come from rainwater, which trickled down the lower west face of the monument, and found that it did not because the calcium ions in rainwater and in the water dripping from the lower west face were the same. Thus, the rain in washing over the facade had not taken away any calcium.

Kervran also analyzed the magnesium and potassium in the stone, which could also be transmuted into calcium based upon his previous studies. However, he found that MgO in normal stone was 2.50%, and in deteriorated stone was 2.64%, and the K2O was 1.2% in both normal and deteriorated stone, so the calcium "could not have come from these two minerals", and only the silica had significantly decreased.

"An investigation was made of the micro-organisms present on the monument. Out of 120 samples taken, 83 contained actinomycetes, all of which were in the deteriorated stone, whereas there was none in the samples from the healthy stone."

The authors reported identification of seven species of actinomycetes, all belonging to the genus Streptomyces (from one of which streptomycin is produced). 'We have observed these actinomycetes to be much more abundant in the stones which showed most deterioration ... The almost constant presence of these micro-organisms in lesions of the stones permits the view that they have an important role in the process of deterioration.'

"In a paper, published by the (French) Academy of Sciences, it is established that there is a marked increase in calcium (varying at 1158% [i.e. increased nearly 12-fold] without any detectable amount of the element being supplied externally by water. On the other hand, the silica alone decreases in considerable proportion. This change in the siliceous stone and the accompanying increase of lime is linked to the presence of micro-organisms. If instead of giving relative values for SiO2 and CaO we only consider absolute weight variations of Si and Ca, we find they are almost in equilibrium at 9.8 ± 1.5 (the variation is because there is no Si = Ca, but Si + C = Ca)." This occurs because Si (28) + C (12) = Ca (40). (Complete details may be found in _Proceedings of the French Academy of Sciences_ (Book 258, Section 13, pp. 6573-75, 6/29/64), and in the 1965 French edition of Kervran's Biological Transmutations.)

Limestone has variable amounts of magnesium in it, which may be explained by Kervran's discovery that microbes can transmute calcium into magnesium by taking oxygen from it (Ca - O = Mg).

The theory of biological transmutations appears to contradict a basic theory in chemistry proposed 200 years ago by Lavoisier that atoms or elements cannot be combined or split to make other elements. Later it was shown that such changes could occur at very high energies, although none of those experiments involved living organisms. Because Kervran's theory is based upon many reproducible experiments, we should heed the advice of the great French physician, Claude Bernard, who said:

"When one is confronted with a fact which is in opposition with a prevalent theory, one must accept this fact and abandon the theory, even though the latter, supported by great men, may be generally subscribed to." (Kervran, Swan House Pub. Co., p. 154)

Louie de Broglie, Nobel Prize laureate in physics said:

"It is premature to reduce the vital (i.e. living) processes to the quite insufficiently developed conceptions of 19th and even 20th century physics and chemistry." (Kervran, supra, p. 1).

Kervran first published his theory and the evidence in 1960. The response in France by medical doctors and scientists was highly favorable. For example, M. Camberfort, Professor of Geotechnics, in 1974 said:

"I have spoken of your work in my most recent book, because I consider that your hypotheses, largely confirmed in certain cases, are the only ones susceptible of explaining a number of facts noted by geologists, and so far explained (in geological circles) by fairy tales and old wives' tales."

Debra S. Stakes, a geochemist at the Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute in Moss Landing, California, said:

"Most geological processes at their more fundamental stages could be biologically mediated, which challenges our models for inorganic thermodynamics, for driving reactions." (Broad, ibid.)

General relativity and quantum mechanics are two systems that are to some extent mutually inconsistent, and each of them has difficulty explaining certain phenomena, implying that both may be inadequate in some key respects. Kervran believes that transmutations fall in the class of forces in physics called "weak nuclear reactions". Some scientists suspect that the dipole character of the electrical force or electromagnetic force may play a significant role in the explanation. The weak nuclear force (electro-weak force) of the atom was related to the electromagnetic force in the 1960's by 1979 Nobel Laureates in physics, Steven Weinberg, Sheldon Lee Glashow and Abdus Salam.

Kervran was convinced that a better understanding of the electro-weak force would probably explain biological transmutations. If a successful electrical explanation can be found for biological transmutations it would move science closer to the grand unified theory that scientists seek, and would better satisfy the Occam's razor principle: "simpler is better".

Most scientists do not have an informed opinion about biological transmutations because they either have not heard of it, or have not investigated it, despite significant published literature proving that biological transmutations occur. In fact, one well-known biologist told me he had never heard of biological transmutations. Usually scientists try to explain their unexpected and anomalous results by saying that the microbes "concentrate", or "preferentially fix" minerals, or that the minerals "migrate". However, as Kervran has said:

"(T)hose who employ (such) terms have never measured the total content of the element in question-neither in the experimental jar nor in the soil —before or after cultivation." (Kervran, Swan House, pp. 4-5). Often these scientists admit that they don't understand how microbes concentrate minerals.

As shown, Kervran provides strong empirical evidence that limestone may be formed from sandstone or silica through the action of several species of streptomyces (order of actinomycetes), which transmute silica into calcium. (Si + C = Ca). Biological transmutations might also explain the creation of geological formations of limestone from large deposits of fossils which often appear to have been buried originally in sand, gravel and clay, each of which contains a large amount of silica.

Transmutations appear to require the presence of sufficient water in liquid form to sustain the bacteria. Biological organisms appear to be involved in the formation of chalk, such as the white cliffs of Dover in England, which like limestone, also consist of calcium carbonate. (Broad, ibid.)

Many other anomalies consistent with transmutation occur in the biochemistry of calcium:

1. Americans consume more calcium and milk products than just about any country in the world, yet we have one of the highest rates of osteoporosis. (The Harvard study of 77,761 nurses found that persons with a high dietary calcium intake actually had 45% more hip fractures over 12 years than those with the lowest intake. (Diane Feskanich, Sc.D., et al. "Milk, Dietary Calcium, and Bone Fractures in Women: A 12-Year Prospective Study", _Am. J. Pub. Health_, 87:6; 992-997, June 1997). A 1994 study of elderly men and women in Sidney, Australia found that those with the highest milk product consumption had approximately double the risk of hip fracture compared to those with the lowest consumption, Cumming RG, Klineberg RJ, "Case-control study of risk factors for hip fractures in the elderly", _Am. J. Epidemiol_., 1994; 139:493-50.

2. Rural Chinese do not consume milk products or take calcium supplements, and their average calcium intake was 544 mg. per day (approximately half that of the RDA in the U.S.). Among these Chinese women over age 50, the rate of bone fractures is about one fifth as high as in Western nations. (T. Colin Campbell, Hunshi Chen, _Diet in Rural China_, Lippincott/Williams & Wilkins, 1999; Hu, J-F, Zhao, X-H, Hia, J-B, Parpi, B., Campbell, T.C., "Dietary calcium and bone density among middle-aged and elderly women in China,", Am. J. Clin. Nutr. 1993; 58: 219-217).

3. Milking cows experience a daily "deficit" of calcium (and phosphorus) at such a great rate that in one year's time, its bones would be seriously depleted if it got its calcium from calcium. (Kervran, Swan House Pub., pp. 57, 67-68; A. Demolon and A. Marquet, _Le Phosphore et la Vie_, P.U.F. Pub., Paris 1949). However, if silica and magnesium (Mg + O = Ca) in the grass are considered as sources of calcium through transmutation, as shown by Kervran, there is no mystery and no deficit because grass contains large amounts of silica and magnesium.

4. Broken bones have been shown to heal much more quickly when a source of organic silica such as the herb horsetail is provided. (Kervran has excellent photos of x-rays showing rapid healing with horsetail, (Kervran, Swan House Pub., p. 137)

5. Broken bones have been shown to heal much more quickly when foods high in calcium such as milk products are withheld. (E. Plisnier, Sauvez votre sante, Edit. P.I.C. Bruxelles, 1966; Kervran, Swan House Pub., pp. 145-146)

6. The oak tree "grows best in soils rich in silica, where lime may be totally absent, but the tree can have large amounts of calcium in its wood and bark (up to 60% lime in the ash)" (Kervran, _Biological Transmutations_, Beekman Press [hereinafter "BP"], 1972, p. 26).

7. Grass grows best on soil high in calcium, yet its ash contains large quantities of silica and magnesium but little calcium. However, it is not necessary to add magnesium to the soil, despite removal of much greater quantities of magnesium year after year than the soil could possibly have contained. Yet, when the soil becomes depleted in calcium, daisies spring up in the lawn, and daisies have an ash that is high in calcium, thus restoring the soil (Ehrenfried Pfeiffer, _Fecondite de la Terre_, Edit. Les Triades. Paris, 1949 (reedit. 1960, avec preface de A. Louis). "When lime is lacking, silicon loving plants grow, and their ash is rich in lime" (Kervran, BP, p. 25).

8. The skeleton of a chicken just hatched has four times more calcium in it than was in the egg. The calcium did not come from the shell because on the 10th day the outer leaf separates from the shell enlarging the air chamber, and the calcium only increases from the 10th day to the 20th day. The outer leaf of the membrane inside the shell contains about .5% silica, however, and the inner leaf contains less (Kervran, Swan House Pub., pp. 46-47).

9. Kervran once tested a crab that was molting, and was a soft mass without a shell. It was placed in a container with a little seawater and by the second day its shell was fully formed, which weighs about 350 g. Seawater has only .042% calcium in it, so that the shell's calcium could not have come from the water. However, seawater has 5% magnesium salts, which could have produced the calcium: Mg + O Ca. (Kervran, Swan House Pub., p. 58)

Dr. Charruyer, Chairman of the Department of Physics at the Medical School of Limoges, France mentioned to Kervran:

"that he had found in primitive grounds geodes of calcite in slaty rocks which were very hard, compact, and absolutely impermeable. These rhomboidal forms of calcium carbonate can be very big and weight many kilos, but due to their impermeability, there is no possibility that they could have come by migration. They could only have had an endogenous origin in one of the components of the schists. In my opinion they could only have come from the reaction (Si + C = Ca) since C also comes from the schists in the reaction Si = C + O." (Kervran, Beekman, p. 73)

 

Despite these anomalies, chemists generally have never tested for the source of all the calcium. Instead they ASSUMED it was "concentrated" or "precipitated" from calcium already in the vicinity, despite general indications weighing against such assumption, and despite published evidence by Kervran and others proving that there was no adequate source of calcium and that other elements were the probable source.

Let's look at the experiments that led Kervran to publish his theory of biological transmutations in 1960. The experiments arose from numerous unexplained carbon monoxide poisonings in acetylene torch welders going back 25 years (See Kervran, Beekman, pp. 17-23).

In 1935 Kervran investigated for the French government the carbon monoxide poisoning death of an acetylene torch welder welding steel for the French government. After careful investigation of the air breathed by the welder no source of carbon monoxide could be found. In subsequent years Kervran investigated numerous other deaths of welders from C-O poisoning and no source of C-O was ever found. Finally, in 1955 Kervran again was called upon to investigate the deaths of three more welders by C-O poisoning. This time an extremely thorough investigation was performed involving numerous specialists from different fields over a period of four years. Again no source of carbon monoxide could be found.

This finding is not surprising since the great heat of red-hot iron (or steel) should cause complete combustion of all carbon. Numerous tests were performed to consider all conventional explanations.

Such C-O poisonings of welders and failure to find the a source of C-O were by no means confined to France. In England and especially Germany detailed studies were done to determine the cause of the C-O poisonings. Careful measurements of the air near red-hot welding operations were unable to find a trace of C-O (Kervran, BP, p. 20). Not long ago I talked with a retired former director of maintenance at the Gates Tire Co. in Denver, Colorado and he told me that they also had a problem with C-O poisoning among welders but had never been able to discover the source of C-O. He said the problem was solved once they supplied air to the welders through tubes from a source away from the welding itself.

Based upon all the evidence Kervran finally concluded that nitrogen in the air when heated by red hot iron or steel had been transmuted in the body to carbon monoxide. Thus, N2 = CO, which involves the movement of one proton and one neutron from the nucleus of one nitrogen atom to the other, thereby changing one atom to carbon, and the other to oxygen. After over four years of painstaking research into the welders' C-O poisoning, Kervran published his results and theory of biological transmutations in 1960. The findings that led him to this conclusion were as follows:

1. No source of carbon monoxide was ever found.

2. Every surviving welder in the workplace was tested, and the blood of all tested high in carbon monoxide, some approaching a fatal level.

3. The helpers who worked nearby the welders but not in the immediate vicinity of the red hot steel were also tested. None of the helpers had elevated levels of carbon monoxide in their blood.

4. When helium was tested in place of nitrogen, the welders no longer got carbon monoxide poisoning. (Kervran, BP p. 21)

5. When the welders' air supply was provided through tubes from nearby air that was not exposed to the red hot metal, carbon-monoxide poisoning no longer occurred.

6. It was later determined that the iron must be heated to a deep red or hotter, or to a temperature of more than 400 C (752 F) (experiments on rabbits and humans; Kervran, 1964, BP, pp. 20-21; Swan House Pub., pp. 18-19). When the iron is bright red (considerably hotter) the effect is quick (Kervran, Swan House Pub., p. 19).

7. An argument that the carbon monoxide could have been produced as a result of increased oxygen pressure was disproved in 1963, showing that the production of C-O occurs independently of oxygen pressure. (Desoille, H. and Truffert, "Absence de correlation entre la pression de l'oxygene et l'oxyde de Carbone dans le sang," _Arch. Mal. Prof._, July, 1963.)

Kervran reasoned from these facts as follows: The nitrogen molecule in air has two nitrogen atoms which are 1.12 Angstroms apart. The electrons circulate in a common orbit around both. The carbon monoxide molecule's nuclei are 1.09 Angstroms apart. One proton and one neutron move from one nitrogen atom over to the other nitrogen atom, changing one N atom into carbon and the other into oxygen. The electrons stay in the same orbit as the nuclei move slightly closer together.

Kervran states that the first five protons in an atom (as in boron) are in an inner orbit (Kervran, BP, p. 102), while elements with more protons, such as carbon and nitrogen have additional protons in a larger orbit. Kervran states that it appears that the protons in this second orbit are not as tightly bound, requiring less energy to dislodge them.

Kervran believes that a proton and neutron in the second orbit of one of the nitrogen atoms in a nitrogen molecule are energized and resonate with the nitrogen activated by the infrared wavelengths generated by the red hot iron and under the influence of an (as yet) unidentified catalyst, probably present in the lungs or blood, the proton and neutron move from one nitrogen atom to the other, changing nitrogen into carbon monoxide (whose spectral pattern has two peaks at 8 and 9 microns in the infrared) instead.

The energy from iron at 1100 C to 1300 C resonates in the infrared at 6 to 8 microns. (Kervran, Beekman, p. 40). Thus, red hot iron and C-O have a common resonance at 8 microns in the infrared. Further evidence that a transmutation occurred is afforded by the fact that the C-O poisonings stopped completely once the welders were provided with air to breathe through tubes from a location away from the red hot iron.

This revolutionary theory is supported by the fact that there is now sound evidence that numerous other biological transmutations take place in nature, many of which were verified by Kervran and other scientists.

In urging you to keep an open mind, I will quote Alexis Carrel, eminent French surgeon and 1912 Nobel Prize winner, who wrote:

"The mind has a natural tendency to reject what does not come within the framework of the scientific expectations of our epoch. Scientists are men after all. They are impregnated with the prejudice of their class and times. They readily believe that what is not explainable in current theory does not exist."

Manganese and Iron

Another geological process investigated by Kervran involved a "black disease" on the cave walls and temples of Banteay Srei in Cambodia. The surface of the rocks becomes black and this black layer consists of 5% manganese (Mn), which causes the black color. But there is only .05% manganese in the stone (100X less). There is more Mn in the black surface layer than in the entire rock, so the Mn could not have come from the rock. However, an analysis of the pink sandstone revealed 5-15% iron (Fe). So the Fe could be the source of the Mn: Fe(56) - H(1) = Mn(55). So they tested to see if this was true, using actinomycetes and bacteria, which were set apart and cultured on FeSO(4). Mn was produced. (Kervran, HP, p. 92-94).

In the bottom of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans manganese nodules are found, which are "fished" on a large scale. Many investigations have been done which show that bacteria are heavily involved in the production of manganese, including research by Henry Ehrlich. The conventional explanation is that the nodules are formed by bacteria which oxidize the Mn to allow it to fix itself onto the nodule. However, as Kervran says, "no one has thought to make a systematic experiment without manganese, in ferrous solution". However, industrial studies demonstrated enrichment of the Mn in the presence of actinomycetes bacteria in ores poor in Mn but rich in Fe. (Kervran, Swan House Pub. p. 98).

The proliferation and activity can be considerably increased by controlling the temperature and pH and by adding 0.1% peptone to the solution. Kervran observes that mangano-bacteria are found in significant quantities in all types of soil (e.g. 315,000-255,000,000 per gram), along with other microbes. Iron ores normally contain 0-20% manganese, and vice versa.

Kervran made a related study of a reverse reaction, or Mn to Fe. This was done in a Petri dish in which selected bacteria were cultured in a mineral solution to which a Mn powder is added. After a certain time (for incubation) a "rapid proliferation is established and the ferro-bacteria transmute the Mn into Fe." (Kervran, Swan House Pub., p. 98, see photo).

To the objection that "nuclear" energies must be involved in such reactions, and that the reactions are thus impossible, Kervran points out that the basic nuclei for constructing the atom are not split. The binding energy between protons and neutrons in the "sub-nuclei" does not change; the only energy involved is that which either separates the two nuclei or draws them closer. He states:

"The studies which we have made show that only energies measured in keV are involved, whereas in nuclear physics energies are expressed in MeV, therefore a thousand times greater. (I would point out that 1MeV = 1.6 million ergs; therefore 1 erg = 625 billion electron-volts. These are therefore very low values, but they are applicable to a single atom; the energy of 1 MeV = 3.82 X 10^14 small calories.)"

"In chemistry the bonding energies are usually electron-volts, sometimes even less than 1eV, which is 1000 times less than in the new science where we are establishing our first facts."

"An appendix in Low Energy Transmutations gives part of a study made by the physicist L. Romani, showing that a drawing nearer of nuclei of a molecule could explain the mechanism we have proposed, and that the energy needed to set it in motion is at the rate of keV. This confirms our findings." (Kervran, BP, p. 39).

As he says however, the energy required to change N2 to C-O is only 112 eV. (Kervran, BP, p. 41), which may require some revision of our laws of thermodynamics as applied to living organisms. Kervran points out that considerably greater energy is needed for the greater change required for the combination of elements to make a third element, such as Si + C = Ca. It is suggested that experimenters test these energies.

One interesting theory that ought to be investigated has been presented by Ralph Sansbury, who has reanalyzed tests of the speed of light and other tests and has done some of his own experiments which together suggest that light travels much faster than conventional theory, and that a modified understanding of electromagnetism may be needed to replace general and special relativity and quantum mechanics and to explain many phenomena that defy these theories. Wal Thornhill shares this opinion although he has different ideas about some of Sansbury's conclusions, and he accepts biological transmutations as a reality. Sansbury has presented his ideas in his book: _Gravity, Magnetism and Light: Charge Polarization Inside Electrons and Atomic Nuclei_, 1998, 128 pages, available on Internet at:

http://users.bestweb.net/~sansbury/book01.pdf 

Now, let's look at another remarkable experiment, this time with sodium and potassium. Some experiments strongly confirming a biological transmutation from sodium to potassium were performed by Hisatoli Komaki, a Japanese professor of science and director of a microbiology laboratory, who was later co-nominated for the Nobel Prize with Kervran.

His replication of Kervran's work involved a rapid production of potassium from sodium by molds and yeast in just 72 hours. (Na23 + O16 = K39). He used several species of mold: aspergillus niger and penicillium chrysogenum, and two species of yeast, saccharomyces cerevisiae (spore-forming) and torulopsis utilis (non spore-forming). The experiment was performed using a sodium and bacteria solution and medium with and without .01 mg added potassium (Na23 + O16 = K39.) There was 0.4 mg of K in the flask and from the glass before the experiment. After 72 hours at 30 C (86 F) the K results were as follows:

Cultured with K Cultured without K Species
5.35 mg. K 0.901 mg. K Aspergillus niger
10.27 mg. K 1.049 mg. K Penicillium chrysogenum (brewer's yeast)
15.84 mg. K 1.749 mg. K Saccharomyces cerevisiae
22.37 mg. K 2.017 mg. K Torulopsis utilis (wild yeast)

Thus, K increased from 0.41 mg up to a range of 5.35 to 22.37 mg (13X to 54X) in just 72 hours. A considerably smaller but still substantial increase in K occurred where no K was provided at the outset. The non-inoculated control flasks showed just 0.4 mg K at the end of the experiment, or no increase at all. (K, BP, pp. 42-44). Detailed experiments supporting biological transmutations from sodium to potassium, including in humans, were previously performed and published by Kervran and are also detailed in his work.

The fact that K production is greatly increased when a tiny amount of K (.01 mg.) is added at the start of the experiment is explained by research by Monod and Jacob, Nobel Prize winners in 1965. Kervran states:

"There is a specific gene for the enzyme which induces formation of potassium from sodium, but this gene is inactive if blocked by an inhibitory agent whose action may be canceled by a sufficient rate of K. Below this rate the inhibitor is active and blocks the gene, with the result that the enzyme is not synthesized (in man it is aldosterone that is synthesized). It is evident, therefore, that experiments in biological transmutations may not succeed with highly purified substances." (Kervran, Beekman, p. 44).

A similar finding by someone not familiar with the theory of biological transmutations is that Henry Ehrlich reported a rapid increase or "concentration" of manganese by microbes. However, he found that the accumulation (or production) of manganese was increased by up to 2,000 times more when a small amount of manganese (.1%) was added at the start of the experiment (Ehrlich, op. cit., p. 418).

A number of experiments were performed by Kervran beginning in the 1930's in which he demonstrated a probable transmutation of sodium to potassium in oil derrick workers in the high heat of the Sahara desert. He showed marked imbalances in sodium and potassium and calorie consumption and loss during the hot summer months, in which workers consumed large amounts of sodium but excreted large amount of potassium and magnesium. Kervran suggests that the transmutation of Na23 + O16 = K39 absorbs significant body heat and that perspiration is inadequate to the task. Time will not allow me to discuss these studies in detail here but they are presented at length in Kervran's books (Kervran, BP., pp. 51-61; Swan House Pub., pp. 27-35).

Pannos T. Pappas, physicist at the Technological Institute at Piraeus, Greece, performed research supporting the theory that a transmutation of sodium to potassium occurs within the cell. He discusses serious flaws in the conventional theory of the sodium-potassium pump in human physiology, and shows how a transmutation of sodium to potassium provides a much better explanation for the phenomena observed. (Pannos T. Pappas, "Electrically Induced Nuclear Fusion", _Journal of New Energy_ Vol. 3, No. 1, pp. 5-9, spring, 1998. The article also available at www.papimi.gr/eqoflif.htm.)

Kervran and others have demonstrated transmutations of substantial quantities of various elements by living organisms within a few days. For example, these experiments can be easily performed on dried fruits, sprouting seeds, bacteria, and yeasts in various media.

"One plant, the tilandsia, commonly known as Spanish Moss (a Bromacea), will grow on copper fibres without roots or contact with the soil. Its ash contains no copper, but has 17% of iron oxides in addition to various other elements which could not have come from the rainwater supplied to the plant." (Ibid. p. 26).

Kervran, who also discusses and has researched numerous other mineral changes in rock that seem explainable only by biological transmutations, states:

"I should say at once that changes in rock are due to microorganisms; fungi, often of the family aspergillacae and other moulds; microscopic algae; bacteria; actinomycetes such as streptomyces which live like bacteria but reproduce like fungi. In these phenomena there is therefore an interaction of living organisms followed by various chemical reactions between the elements set up by biological transmutation." (Ibid. p. 28)

Another geological action based upon bacterial action is reflected in various salt deposits. Through a number of studies Kervran has verified that sodium may be transmuted to potassium (Na23 + O16 = K39), and to magnesium (Na23 +H1 = Mg24). Thus, the oldest salt deposits have the highest proportion of magnesium and potassium, and the most recent ones have the highest sodium content and relatively less potassium and magnesium. (Kervran, BP, pp. 56-59)

I also suspect that lichens may perform some transmutations. Lichens are combinations of algae and fungi which break down rocks. I have seen in Texas and in Colorado limestone on which lichens are growing and bear the characteristic orange-red coloration of iron oxide, as though the lichens are making iron out of the calcium. This would make sense if the calcium combines with carbon, as Ca(44) + C(12) = Fe(56). And it might explain my friend's very heavy petrified rock with the grain of an oak tree assuming some of the Ca (which may be up to 60% in oak ash) may have "turned" into Fe. I believe it would be worth investigating these rocks for iron content and a possible transmutation.

Additional biological roles of microbes:

Kervran has discovered some biological transmutations involving elements that suggest a possible pathway for silification without introducing silica from outside. These involve the production of Si from C and O, or from N2. Leo says that Scurfield et al. (1974) "observed that silica particles often occur with starch grains or with polyphenolic material in the same cell, and suggested a causal relationship to be operative" (Leo, supra, p. 47).

This is consistent with the idea that carbon and oxygen in the cell in the form of starch grains (carbohydrates) and polyphenolic material (hydrocarbons with oxygen) combine to form silica. (N2 C + O; C+O Si). Such transmutations occurring locally within the cell, each of them in a nano-space, seems more consistent with the preservation of microscopic cell structure that often occurs in silification and petrification, than if the silica came in from outside the dead tree cell to replace carbohydrates in the cell that are somehow driven out of the dead cell. Other more recent experiments using bacteria or yeasts to cause petrification have reported petrification within a period of about three years using wood soaked in the residue from making beer, and embedded in sand. Here the silica in sand may play a role mentioned above by Kervran of assisting the transmutation by overcoming an enzyme that otherwise would block the transmutation, as explained by Monod and Jacob.

In conclusion, there is now extensive evidence that microbes are ubiquitous through the crust of the earth, and that they play a major role in a great many geological processes and formations. There is also excellent experimental evidence that microbes in numerous cases perform transmutations of elements so as to produce such formations. Most microbiologists are not aware of the theory, even though the evidence unmistakably favors the theory as the only reasonable explanation. However, biological transmutations is like the elephant in a room that no one will talk about because the theory appears to violate the laws of physics. Yet when consistently reproducible facts violate a theory, it is time to reexamine the theory. Microbiologists and geomicrobiologists do often admit that the phenomena they are describing defy an explanation, and they generally come up with speculative solutions, such as the theory that microbes "concentrate" minerals, or the minerals "migrate", and other unproven statements. In my opinion, these phenomena should be studied thoroughly with an open mind, and a concerted effort should be made to reexamine our theories of the atom to see if one might be devised that could explain the facts of transmutations as well as other natural phenomena.

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