Navigation Links
A tiny frozen microbe may hold clues to extraterrestrial life
Date:6/14/2009

A novel bacterium that has been trapped more than three kilometres under glacial ice in Greenland for over 120 000 years, may hold clues as to what life forms might exist on other planets.

Dr Jennifer Loveland-Curtze and a team of scientists from Pennsylvania State University report finding the novel microbe, which they have called Herminiimonas glaciei, in the current issue of the International Journal of Systematic and Evolutionary Microbiology. The team showed great patience in coaxing the dormant microbe back to life; first incubating their samples at 2˚C for seven months and then at 5˚C for a further four and a half months, after which colonies of very small purple-brown bacteria were seen.

H. glaciei is small even by bacterial standards it is 10 to 50 times smaller than E. coli. Its small size probably helped it to survive in the liquid veins among ice crystals and the thin liquid film on their surfaces. Small cell size is considered to be advantageous for more efficient nutrient uptake, protection against predators and occupation of micro-niches and it has been shown that ultramicrobacteria are dominant in many soil and marine environments.

Most life on our planet has always consisted of microorganisms, so it is reasonable to consider that this might be true on other planets as well. Studying microorganisms living under extreme conditions on Earth may provide insight into what sorts of life forms could survive elsewhere in the solar system.

"These extremely cold environments are the best analogues of possible extraterrestrial habitats", said Dr Loveland-Curtze, "The exceptionally low temperatures can preserve cells and nucleic acids for even millions of years. H. glaciei is one of just a handful of officially described ultra-small species and the only one so far from the Greenland ice sheet; studying these bacteria can provide insights into how cells can survive and even grow under extremely harsh conditions, such as temperatures down to -56˚C, little oxygen, low nutrients, high pressure and limited space."

"H. glaciei isn't a pathogen and is not harmful to humans", Dr Loveland-Curtze added, "but it can pass through a 0.2 micron filter, which is the filter pore size commonly used in sterilization of fluids in laboratories and hospitals. If there are other ultra-small bacteria that are pathogens, then they could be present in solutions presumed to be sterile. In a clear solution very tiny cells might grow but not create the density sufficient to make the solution cloudy".


'/>"/>

Contact: Dianne Stilwell
diannestilwell@me.com
44-795-720-0214
Society for General Microbiology
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Children born from frozen embryos weigh more and do better than those born after fresh transfer
2. Hungry microbes share out the carbon in the roots of plants
3. Microbes churn out hydrogen at record rate
4. Cosmopolitan microbes -- hitchhikers on Darwins dust
5. Scientists melt million-year-old ice in search of ancient microbes
6. Methane from microbes: a fuel for the future
7. Nitrous oxide from ocean microbes
8. Elevated carbon dioxide changes soil microbe mix below plants
9. Paired microbes eliminate methane using sulfur pathway
10. Hot springs microbes hold key to dating sedimentary rocks, researchers say
11. Unexplored microbes hold incredible potential for science and industry
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:2/2/2016)... 2, 2016 Checkpoint Inhibitors for Cancer ... Are you interested in the future of ... checkpoint inhibitors. Visiongain,s report gives those predictions to ... national level. Avoid falling behind in data ... and revenues those emerging cancer therapies can achieve. ...
(Date:2/1/2016)... 1, 2016  Today, the first day of American ... to develop a first of its kind workplace health ... Watson. In the first application of Watson ... IBM ), and Welltok will create a new offering ... cognitive analytics, delivered on Welltok,s health optimization platform. The ...
(Date:1/25/2016)... 2016  Glencoe Software, the world-leading supplier of image ... will provide the data management solution OMERO Plus for ... Photo - ... Phenotypic analysis measures the characteristics and behavior ... between states such as health and disease, the presence ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:2/10/2016)... (NYSE MKT: ISR), a medical technology company and innovator ... treatment of prostate, brain, lung, head and neck and ... second quarter and six months of fiscal 2016, which ... --> Revenue was $1.19 million for ... 31, 2015, a 12% increase compared to $1.07 million ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... February 10, 2016 , ... Benchmark ... today the promotion of two long-standing principal investigators (PI) to the roles of ... Research and Development. , Dr. Laurence Chu, a Benchmark Research PI in the ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... ... 2016 , ... SonaCare Medical, LLC reports the introduction of ... monitoring. The inaugural launch of this new technology occurred over the course of ... to a HIFU technical expert at SonaCare Medical headquarters. , Sonalink allows ...
(Date:2/10/2016)... , ... February 10, 2016 , ... ... medicine, has announced a new agreement with Singapore-based Global Stem Cells Network (GSCN) ... the Philippines, Thailand and Singapore in the latest adipose and bone marrow therapies. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: