Navigation Links
Microbiologists can now measure extremely slow life
Date:3/19/2012

"Mud samples boiled in acid sounds like witchcraft," admits microbiologist Bente Lomstein from the Department of Bioscience when explaining how she and an international group of researchers achieved the outstanding results being published today in the journal Nature.

Bacteria are the only living organisms to produce D-amino acids that deposit a chemical signature in the mud in which they live. Researchers at the Department of Bioscience and the Danish National Research Foundation's Center for Geomicrobiology at Aarhus University have used this knowledge together with American researchers to develop a method to calculate the activity level of microorganisms in the deepest layers of the seabed.

Metabolism in slow motion

Why should we worry about the small organisms that live hidden below the seabed of the world's oceans? Because the slowly growing bacteria are important for the global storage of organic carbon and thereby for the oxygen content of the atmosphere.

"Seventy per cent of our planet is covered by ocean, which means that seventy per cent of the planet is made up of seabed consisting of sediments that store old organic matter. In some places the deposits are more than one hundred metres thick, and ten to thirty per cent of the total living biomass on Earth is actually found in the mud in the seabed. The bacteria in the seabed convert the carbon of organic matter to CO2, and if we add it all up, the metabolism down there plays a crucial role in the global carbon cycle, even if it happens very slowly," says Associate Professor Lomstein.

The researchers' results show that the metabolism of organic carbon takes place at a much slower rate in the deep seabed compared with all other known ecosystems. The mean generation time of bacterial cells down there is correspondingly long: 1000-3000 years. In comparison, many of the bacteria that have been studied in the laboratory or in nature reproduce in a number of hours.

Life in extreme environments

"Extremely high pressure, total darkness and very little nutrition those are the conditions under which microorganisms live on the seabed. At the bottom of the deep oceans, the pressure reaches several hundred atmospheres," explains Alice Thoft Langerhuus, one of the researchers behind the results.

The researchers also have an idea about how the bacteria can survive under such extreme conditions. They actually succeeded for the first time in demonstrating that there are just as many dormant cells as there are active ones. To a great extent, the bacteria therefore choose to form endospores, which have a solid 'shell' to protect themselves against the harsh environment.

The researchers combined organic biogeochemistry with microbiological studies, and their interdisciplinary model can also provide information about life in other extreme ecosystems.

"Our knowledge can be used in ancient environments with extremely low biological activity, such as permafrost soil. The method is particularly useful for detecting life in the most inactive environments," says Bente Lomstein.


'/>"/>

Contact: Bente Aa. Lomstein
bente.lomstein@biology.au.dk
(45) 60-20-27-69
Aarhus University
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. Global resource for clinical microbiologists and immunologists debuts
2. Microbiologists at TU Muenchen aim to optimize bio-ethanol production
3. Microbiologists find source of fungus’s damaging growth
4. New research into the deep ocean floor yields promising results for microbiologists
5. Microbiologists find defense molecule that senses respiratory viruses
6. Columbia Engineering and Penn researchers increase speed of single-molecule measurements
7. Biochip measures glucose in saliva, not blood
8. AgriLife Research adds new instrumentation to measure greenhouse gases
9. From heterogeneous patient measurements towards earlier diagnosis in Alzheimers disease
10. DTU is participating in a European network on measurement of greenhouse gases
11. BI-Clinical Offers 100% Coverage of All ACO Quality Measures Released by CMS
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Microbiologists can now measure extremely slow life
(Date:4/26/2016)... Research and Markets has announced ... 2016-2020"  report to their offering.  , ,     (Logo: ... analysts forecast the global multimodal biometrics market to ... period 2016-2020.  Multimodal biometrics is being ... the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, automotive, and government for ...
(Date:4/13/2016)... , April 13, 2016  IMPOWER physicians supporting ... are setting a new clinical standard in telehealth thanks ... By leveraging the higi platform, IMPOWER patients can routinely ... pulse and body mass index, and, when they opt ... and convenient visit to a local retail location at ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... 22, 2016 According ... Market for Consumer Industry by Type (Image, Motion, ... (Communication & IT, Entertainment, Home Appliances, & ... to 2022", published by MarketsandMarkets, the market ... reach USD 26.76 Billion by 2022, at ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:6/23/2016)... WI (PRWEB) , ... June 23, 2016 , ... ... supplements, is pleased to announce the launch of their brand, UP4™ Probiotics, into ... for over 35 years, is proud to add Target to its list of ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... HOUSTON , June 23, 2016 ... agreement with the Cy-Fair Sports Association to serve ... of the agreement, Houston Methodist Willowbrook will provide ... education and connectivity with association coaches, volunteers, athletes ... partner with the Cy-Fair Sports Association and to ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... FRANCISCO , June 23, 2016   EpiBiome ... has secured $1 million in debt financing from Silicon ... ramp up automation and to advance its drug development ... its new facility. "SVB has been an ... beyond the services a traditional bank would provide," said ...
(Date:6/23/2016)... 23, 2016 Apellis Pharmaceuticals, Inc. today ... trials of its complement C3 inhibitor, APL-2. The ... ascending dose studies designed to assess the safety, ... injection in healthy adult volunteers. Forty ... a single dose (ranging from 45 to 1,440mg) ...
Breaking Biology Technology: