Navigation Links
UIC scientists find ancient microbes in salty, ice-sealed Antarctic lake
Date:11/26/2012

Shedding light on the limits of life in extreme environments, scientists have discovered abundant and diverse metabolically active bacteria in the brine of an Antarctic lake sealed under more than 65 feet of ice.

The finding, described in this week's issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is surprising because previous studies indicate that the brine has been isolated from the surface environment -- and external sources of energy -- for at least 2,800 years, according to two of the report's authors, Peter Doran and Fabien Kenig, both professors of earth and environmental sciences at the University of Illinois at Chicago.

"This provides us with new boundary conditions on the limits for life," said Doran. "The low temperature or high salinity on their own are limiting, but combined with an absence of solar energy or any new inputs from the atmosphere, they make this a very tough place to make a living."

The researchers drilled out cores of ice, using sanitary procedures and equipment. They collected samples of brine within the ice and assessed its chemical qualities and potential for sustaining life.

They found that the brine is oxygen-free, slightly acidic, and contains high levels of organic carbon, molecular hydrogen, and both oxidized and reduced compounds. The findings were unexpected because of the extremely salty, dark, cold, isolated ecosystem within the ice.

"Geochemical analyses suggest that chemical reactions between the brine and the underlying sediment generate nitrous oxide and molecular hydrogen," said Kenig. "The hydrogen may provide some of the energy needed to support microbes."

"We'd like to go back and find if there is a proper body of brine without ice down there," said Doran. "We'd also like to get some sediment cores from below that to better establish the history of the lake. In the meantime, we are using radar and other geophysical techniques to probe what lies beneath."

The research was conducted with Alison Murray and colleagues at the Desert Research Institute and scientists at other institutes.


'/>"/>

Contact: Anne Brooks Ranallo
annebr@sbcglobal.net
312-355-2523
University of Illinois at Chicago
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Genome decoded: Scientists find clues to more disease-resistant watermelons
2. Scientists from Bangalore and Mainz develop new methods for cooling of ions
3. Scripps Research Institute scientists describe elusive replication machinery of flu viruses
4. It takes two to tangle: Wistar scientists further unravel telomere biology
5. Scientists improve dating of early human settlement
6. Barrow scientists discover ways to optimize light sources for vision
7. WSU scientists find new way for antibiotic resistance to spread
8. NIH awards Penn scientists $10 million over 5 years for innovative research on single cells
9. Scientists question the designation of some emerging diseases
10. Watching the developing brain, scientists glean clues on neurological disorder
11. Scientists take objective look at terms least toxic pesticides applied as last resort
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:5/20/2016)... MINNEAPOLIS , May 20, 2016  VoiceIt ... technology partnership with VoicePass. By working ... user experience.  Because VoiceIt and VoicePass take slightly ... two engines increases both security and usability. ... expressed excitement about this new partnership. ...
(Date:5/3/2016)... , May 3, 2016  Neurotechnology, a provider ... MegaMatcher Automated Biometric Identification System (ABIS) , ... multi-biometric projects. MegaMatcher ABIS can process multiple complex ... any combination of fingerprint, face or iris biometrics. ... SDK and MegaMatcher Accelerator , which ...
(Date:4/26/2016)... , April 27, 2016 ... "Global Multi-modal Biometrics Market 2016-2020"  report to their ... , The analysts forecast the global ... of 15.49% during the period 2016-2020.  ... of sectors such as the healthcare, BFSI, transportation, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:5/26/2016)... ... 26, 2016 , ... FireflySci has been manufacturing quartz and ... over the globe. Their cute firefly logo has been spreading to more and ... spectrophotometer calibration standards that never require recalibration. These revolutionary standards have changed ...
(Date:5/25/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 25, 2016 , ... ... for information (RFI) issued by the Office of the National Coordinator for Health ... experience, and determines if clinically relevant data were available when and where it ...
(Date:5/24/2016)... Mass. (PRWEB) , ... May 24, 2016 , ... ... heart attacks, diabetes, and traumatic injuries, will be accelerated by research at Worcester ... cells into engines of wound healing and tissue regeneration. , The novel method, ...
(Date:5/23/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... May 23, 2016 , ... ... That Will Drive Precision Farming in 2017 and Beyond. The paper outlines the ... in the precision ag industry. , “We’ve witnessed a lot of highs and ...
Breaking Biology Technology: