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Hearty bacteria help make case for life in the extreme
Date:1/19/2012

ogy Reports, said that respiration was reported at all temperatures examined.

The respiration rate of the microbes increased as the temperature rose. While the respiration rates of the bacteria are slow compared to the human respiration, the microbes could maintain cell structure and viability throughout the observed temperature range.

The researchers also performed a staining test to measure reproduction and cell viability. When cells are alive or dead, they leave a chemical footprint of those states. By applying stains to the bacteria in the laboratory-made ice, the researchers can find those chemicals and determine if the cells are alive and healthy.

Bacteria seem to grow best in cracks and crevices within the ice, Bakermans said. The cracks in the ice create channels that allow water and nutrients to circulate.

"It's hard for nutrients to be exchanged in the ice," Bakermans said. "But these channels appear to give the microbes access to nutrients."

The bottom of glaciers may be more hospitable for the microbes than other parts of the glacier because the areas draw warmth and nutrients from the earth, Bakermans said.


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Contact: Matt Swayne
mls29@psu.edu
814-865-9481
Penn State
Source:Eurekalert

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