Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New life discovered in the deep Mediterranean

13.01.2005


Scientists have discovered a new group of microbes thriving in extreme conditions deep in the Mediterranean Sea. Their existence in such hostile environments hints at the possibility of life on other planets.



The European consortium carrying out the three-year Biodeep project, which includes researchers from the University of Essex, now plans to test how the microbes tolerate these unique conditions. The group hopes their adaptations could be exploited in medicine, agriculture or other biotechnological applications.

The researchers tested four ‘brine lakes’ with salt concentrations ten times higher than seawater, a lack of oxygen, and a pressure 400 times greater than atmospheric pressure. These basins in the sea-bed east of Sicily are some 4km below sea level.


The European Commission-funded study aimed to discover whether the brine lakes, because their high densities prevent them mixing with the overlying seawater, represented isolated habitats in which novel life forms had evolved.

The evidence of life in one basin, the Discovery basin, which contained a high concentration of the chemical magnesium chloride, particularly surprised the researchers.

Terry McGenity, the lead scientist of the Essex group, said: ‘This preliminary evidence for life in Discovery brine, in combination with the recent finding of magnesium salts on Mars, and the possibility of a magnesium-rich subsurface ocean on Europa, one of the moons of the planet Jupiter, is tantalising, and has interesting implications for possible life on other planets.’

The research consortium, consisting of scientists from institutions in the Netherlands, Italy, Greece, France, Germany and the UK, made three research cruises to carry out the first detailed study of these deep-sea lakes and to sample and characterize the organisms living there.

Their findings are reported in the current issue (7 January) of the leading research journal Science. A number of new types of microbes, including a completely new evolutionary line, the MSBL1 group of Archaea, were discovered.

Professor Ken Timmis, from the University of Essex and the German Research Centre for Biotechnology, said: ‘Microbes are the most diverse forms of life, and have proven to be a rich source of products and activities that find applications in biotechnology, such as antibiotics and other drugs used in medicine, enzymes used in the manufacture of chemicals, and metabolites used in the food industry. This new diversity represents new potential for biotechnological applications.’

Jenny Grinter | alfa
Further information:
http://www.essex.ac.uk/news

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Global threat to primates concerns us all
19.01.2017 | Deutsches Primatenzentrum GmbH - Leibniz-Institut für Primatenforschung

nachricht Reducing household waste with less energy
18.01.2017 | FIZ Karlsruhe – Leibniz-Institut für Informationsinfrastruktur GmbH

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Traffic jam in empty space

New success for Konstanz physicists in studying the quantum vacuum

An important step towards a completely new experimental access to quantum physics has been made at University of Konstanz. The team of scientists headed by...

Im Focus: How gut bacteria can make us ill

HZI researchers decipher infection mechanisms of Yersinia and immune responses of the host

Yersiniae cause severe intestinal infections. Studies using Yersinia pseudotuberculosis as a model organism aim to elucidate the infection mechanisms of these...

Im Focus: Interfacial Superconductivity: Magnetic and superconducting order revealed simultaneously

Researchers from the University of Hamburg in Germany, in collaboration with colleagues from the University of Aarhus in Denmark, have synthesized a new superconducting material by growing a few layers of an antiferromagnetic transition-metal chalcogenide on a bismuth-based topological insulator, both being non-superconducting materials.

While superconductivity and magnetism are generally believed to be mutually exclusive, surprisingly, in this new material, superconducting correlations...

Im Focus: Studying fundamental particles in materials

Laser-driving of semimetals allows creating novel quasiparticle states within condensed matter systems and switching between different states on ultrafast time scales

Studying properties of fundamental particles in condensed matter systems is a promising approach to quantum field theory. Quasiparticles offer the opportunity...

Im Focus: Designing Architecture with Solar Building Envelopes

Among the general public, solar thermal energy is currently associated with dark blue, rectangular collectors on building roofs. Technologies are needed for aesthetically high quality architecture which offer the architect more room for manoeuvre when it comes to low- and plus-energy buildings. With the “ArKol” project, researchers at Fraunhofer ISE together with partners are currently developing two façade collectors for solar thermal energy generation, which permit a high degree of design flexibility: a strip collector for opaque façade sections and a solar thermal blind for transparent sections. The current state of the two developments will be presented at the BAU 2017 trade fair.

As part of the “ArKol – development of architecturally highly integrated façade collectors with heat pipes” project, Fraunhofer ISE together with its partners...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Sustainable Water use in Agriculture in Eastern Europe and Central Asia

19.01.2017 | Event News

12V, 48V, high-voltage – trends in E/E automotive architecture

10.01.2017 | Event News

2nd Conference on Non-Textual Information on 10 and 11 May 2017 in Hannover

09.01.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Helmholtz International Fellow Award for Sarah Amalia Teichmann

20.01.2017 | Awards Funding

An innovative high-performance material: biofibers made from green lacewing silk

20.01.2017 | Materials Sciences

Ion treatments for cardiac arrhythmia — Non-invasive alternative to catheter-based surgery

20.01.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>