Decidedly Un Moo Tastic
Scientists have confirmed that prions, the mysterious proteins thought to cause chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer, latch on tightly to certain minerals in soil and remain infectious. The discovery that prions stay deadly despite sticking to soil comes as a surprise, because while many proteins can bind to soil, that binding usually changes their shapes and activities … certain soil types serve as natural prion repositories in the wild. As animals regularly consume soil to meet their mineral needs, it’s possible that prion-laden soil particles contribute to the transmission of prion disease such as CWD among animals … To ascertain whether prions remain infectious in soil, the researchers also injected clay-bound prions into laboratory animals. The animals began to show TSE symptoms at approximately the same time as animals injected with only prions.