Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. 24/7 Space News .




EXO LIFE
Oil and metal munching microbes dominate deep sandstone formations
by Staff Writers
Champaign IL (SPX) Dec 19, 2013


Halomonas bacteria are well-known for consuming the metal parts of the Titanic. Researchers now have found Halomonas in sandstone formations deep underground. Credit: NOAA.

Halomonas are a hardy breed of bacteria. They can withstand heat, high salinity, low oxygen, utter darkness and pressures that would kill most other organisms. These traits enable these microbes to eke out a living in deep sandstone formations that also happen to be useful for hydrocarbon extraction and carbon sequestration, researchers report in a new study.

The analysis, the first unobstructed view of the microbial life of sandstone formations more than a mile below the surface, appears in the journal Environmental Microbiology.

"We are using new DNA technologies to understand the distribution of life in extreme natural environments," said study leader Bruce Fouke, a professor of geology and of microbiology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. Fouke also is an investigator with the Energy Biosciences Institute, which funded the research, and an affiliate of the Institute for Genomic Biology at Illinois.

Underground microbes are at least as diverse as their surface-dwelling counterparts, Fouke said, and that diversity has gone largely unstudied.

"Astonishingly little is known of this vast subsurface reservoir of biodiversity, despite our civilization's regular access to and exploitation of subterranean environments," he said.

To address this gap in knowledge, Fouke and his colleagues collected microbial samples from a sandstone reservoir 1.8 kilometers (1.1 miles) below the surface.

The team used a probe developed by the oilfield services company Schlumberger that reduces or eliminates contamination from mud and microbes at intermediate depths. The researchers sampled sandstone deposits of the Illinois Basin, a vast, subterranean bowl underlying much of Illinois and parts of Indiana, Kentucky and Tennessee, and a rich source of coal and oil.

A genomic study and analysis of the microbes the team recovered revealed "a low-diversity microbial community dominated by Halomonas sulfidaeris-like bacteria that have evolved several strategies to cope with and survive the high-pressure, high-temperature and nutrient deprived deep subsurface environment," Fouke said.

An analysis of the microbes' metabolism found that these bacteria are able to utilize iron and nitrogen from their surroundings and recycle scarce nutrients to meet their metabolic needs. (Another member of the same group, Halomonas titanicae, is so named because it is consuming the iron superstructure of the Titanic.)

Perhaps most importantly, the team found that the microbes living in the deep sandstone deposits of the Illinois Basin were capable of metabolizing aromatic compounds, a common component of petroleum.

"This means that these indigenous microbes would have the adaptive edge if hydrocarbon migration eventually does occur," Fouke said.

A better understanding of the microbial life of the subterranean world will "enhance our ability to explore for and recover oil and gas, and to make more environmentally sound choices for subsurface gas storage," he said.

The paper, "Halomonas sulfidaeris-Dominated Microbial Community Inhabits a 1.8 km-Deep Subsurface Cambrian Sandstone Reservoir,"

.


Related Links
Energy Biosciences Institute
Illinois State Geological Survey
Life Beyond Earth
Lands Beyond Beyond - extra solar planets - news and science






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





EXO LIFE
Think you know what alien life may look like? Be careful!
Washington DC (UPI) Dec 16, 2013
The search for planets outside our solar system has been much in the news for the past couple of years, with most of the attention, and questions, focused on "habitable" planets - do they exist, and if so are at least some in fact harboring life? And the biggest question of all: What might that life look like? While scientists might argue over what would make a distant exoplanet ... read more


EXO LIFE
China's Lunar Lander May Provide Additional Science for NASA Spacecraft

China plans to launch Chang'e-5 in 2017

Mining the moon is pie in the sky for China: experts

Ancient crater could hold clues about moon's mantle

EXO LIFE
Opportunity Communications Remain Slow Due To Odyssey Issues

New Views of Mars from Sediment Mineralogy

NASA poised to launch Mars atmosphere probe

The Tough Task of Finding Fossils While Wearing a Spacesuit

EXO LIFE
Asia's year in space triggers applause but also worry

NASA's network for talking to space missions nears 50th anniversary

IBM sees five tech-powered changes in next five years

European consortium space company to offer 'affordable' trips to space

EXO LIFE
Deep space monitoring station abroad imperative

Chinese sci-fi writers laud moon landing

China deploys 'Jade Rabbit' rover on moon

The Dragon Has Landed

EXO LIFE
NASA rigs up snorkel in spacesuit after risky water leak

NASA postpones cargo mission for space station repairs

Altitude of International Space Station raised

NASA mulls spacewalks to fix space station

EXO LIFE
Gaia secured inside fairing

India to decide December 27 on GSAT-14 launch date

Arianespace orders 18 rockets for 2 bn euros

Iran sends second monkey into space

EXO LIFE
Gaia Mission Could Help Map Exoplanets

First detection of a predicted unseen exoplanet

Astronomers solve temperature mystery of planetary atmospheres

Nearby failed stars may harbor planet

EXO LIFE
MU Researchers Develop Advanced Three-Dimensional "Force Microscope"

'Approximate' computers could do tasks not requiring exact answers

Inertial Sensor Head shaken but not disturbed

Programming smart molecules




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement