Henry VIII's favorite ship has a bacteria problem, and now scientists have ID'ed the culprits

Powerful X-rays have revealed what’s eating the wreck of King Henry VIII’s favorite warship, the Mary Rose. After the ship sank in a 1545 battle against the French, sulfur-producing marine bacteria spent the next few centuries munching on the wood of the submerged wreck, leaving behind residues that could turn to acid when exposed to air and harm the historic shipwreck today, researchers recently discovered. 

The Mary Rose — what was left of it — languished at the bottom of the English Channel until the ship was raised in 1982, and though conservators took steps to treat and preserve the waterlogged structures, little was known about the bacterial species inhabiting the wood and if their byproducts could jeopardize the rescued ship’s preservation.

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