New research shows how a group of deep-sea microbes thrives in hot oxygen-free liquids running through the earth's crust. Understanding these tough microorganisms hints at the evolution of life on Earth, says the authors of research articles.
Hydrothermarchaeota is a group of microbes living in such extreme conditions that they were never able to grow in laboratories. Now, a joint research group from the Bigelow Laboratory of Ocean Science, Hawaii University in Manoa and the Ministry of Energy, a common genomic institute, have solved this problem by creating methods of genetic sequencing called genomics.
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An unusual metabolic strategy helps microbes to progress
They found that Hydrothermarchaeota can obtain energy by processing carbon monoxide and sulphate, which is overlooked by the metabolic strategy. Microbes generate energy by processing carbon monoxide and sulphate.
The energy obtained by this treatment is used as a form of chemosynthesis. "Most of the Earth's life is microbial and most of the microbes have never been cultivated," said Beth Orcutt, senior research scientist at Bigelow Laboratory and one of the leading authors of the study.
"These findings emphasize why single cellular genomics are such important tools to detect a large share of life functions." By studying the Hydrothermarchaeot genome, the researchers understood that the group belongs to a group of one-celled life known as archaea.
The deep sea has space answers
Archaea developed very early in the history of our Earth and is probably also their rare metabolic process. With a better understanding of these microorganisms we can learn more about the beginning of our planet.
Researchers point out that the ocean's underground crust is critical to understanding not only the history of our country, but also potentially other planets. Researchers found evidence that Hydrothermarchaeota has the ability to move on their own.
Independent movement means that microbes can travel, if necessary, into their harsh environment, which is endangered by nutrients. "Studying these unique microorganisms can give us insights into the history of the Earth and the possible strategy of life on other planets," said Stephanie Carr, the first author of the paper and former postdoctoral researcher at Orcut, now an assistant professor at Hartwick. High school.
"Their survival strategies are extremely versatile and play an important, overlooked role in underground environments where they live." The research was lengthy. In 2011, the project scientist sailed to the edge of the Juan de Fuca hill, off the coast of Washington.
Robot Deep Sea will return for new samples
Two oceanic tiles are separated here, causing a new oceanic crust. The team sent a deep diving robot Woods Hole Oceanology 2.6 km to the seabed, where it collected samples of fluid flowing through the deep crust.
Liquids were then studied with various genomic techniques. The survey will continue as the team returns to Juan de Fuca Ridge and collect new samples this year.
"Microbes living" buried alive "under the seabed are really interesting for us because they can survive with low amounts of energy," said Orcutt. "We hope our experiments with these strange microbes can show how they do it, so we can imagine how life can exist on other planets." Their research was published in a recent issue of the ISME magazine.