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:11/21/2016)...   Neurotechnology , a provider of high-precision ... that the MegaMatcher On Card fingerprint matching algorithm ... NIST Minutiae Interoperability Exchange (MINEX) III ... of the evaluation protocol. The ... fingerprint templates used to establish compliance of template ...
(Date:11/17/2016)... 2016 Global Market Watch: Primarily supported ... Population-Based Banks and Academics) market is to witness a value ... shows the highest Compounded Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 10.75% ... the analysis period 2014-2020. North America ... by Europe at 9.56% respectively. ...
(Date:11/16/2016)... , Nov. 16, 2016 Sensory Inc ... and security for consumer electronics, and VeriTran ... and retail industry, today announced a global partnership ... way to authenticate users of mobile banking and ... TrulySecure™ software which requires no specialized biometric ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:11/30/2016)... and BEIJING , Nov. 30, 2016 ... provider of genomic services and solutions with cutting edge ... it has completed a USD $75 Million [515 Million ... Ltd.,s CMB International Capital Management ( Shenzhen ... Co., Ltd. ("SDIC Innovation") and Shanghai Sigma Square Investment ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... 30, 2016   Merck , a leading science ... into a set of agreements with Evotec AG, whereby ... of genetic reagents such as CRISPR and shRNA libraries. ... offers an accelerated pathway to explore and identify new ... identification of new targets, a process that can be ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... Park, NC (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2016 ... ... company engaged in the development of a new orally administered treatment for Alzheimer’s ... and neuroimaging results of a Phase 2a clinical trial of T3D-959 in mild ...
(Date:11/30/2016)... Toronto, ON (PRWEB) , ... November 30, 2016 ... ... focused on discovery and development of precision treatments for neurodegenerative diseases, today announced ... disease (AD) (announced on November 3, 2016) blocked propagation of toxic, prion-like forms ...
Breaking Biology Technology: