Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Busy Microbial World Discovered in Deepest Ocean Crust Ever Explored

The first study to ever explore biological activity in the deepest layer of ocean crust has found bacteria with a remarkable range of capabilities, including eating hydrocarbons and natural gas, and “fixing” or storing carbon. The research, just published in the journal PLoS One, showed that a significant number and amount of bacterial forms were present, even in temperatures near the boiling point of water. The research was supported by the National Science Foundation, U.S. Department of Energy, Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, and the Integrated Ocean Drilling Program. Collaborators were from OSU, the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, Tohoku University in Japan, Universitat Bremen in Germany, University of Oklahoma, and National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology in Japan. More>