Assuming a lithotrophic slime mold were to be created, which metabolized iron, carbon dioxide and sulphur, and released, how much damage would it do?
Let's say it was created to help manage landfills. One of the lab techs is checking on a specimen, party of the food deprivation test group, and noticed it had formed fruiting bodies. Unwittingly, they get some spores on their hand, and when they wash their hands at the end of the day, those spores are transferred into the sewers.
This slime mold has been engineered to reproduce quickly, and have a short lifespan. The scientists creating it wish it to simply consume all available food in a given landfill, then die off. After all, that way customers have to pay for another batch.
In conditions where food is plentiful, slime molds are a bunch of unassociated eukaryotes, munching away. But when food becomes more scarce, they gather, form fruiting bodies which release extremely light weight spores, they then go off in search of food. On mass, their sense of smell is more sensitive, and they can move much faster, about 8cm\minute.
Modelling their digestion off of real lithotrophic organisms, they first consume sulphur, and convert it into sulphuric acid, at which point they dissolve the iron, and consume it, as well as taking in carbon dioxide they require from the atmosphere or water.
I ask this question primarily out of curiosity, and so are not really looking for a world ending scenario. How much damage could an organism like this do to modern infrastructure before it was noticed, and if it was noticed, would there be an effective way to kill it off?
Acidithiobacillus ferrooxidans, The lithotroph the digestion is based off of: https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acidithiobacillus
Slime Molds: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slime_mold
Thank-you for taking the time to read my question, and hopefully comment or answer it.