Primarily limited by temperature , little is known about secondary factors that restrict or enhance microbial activity or about the extent of a habitable environment deep below the surface.
In particular, the degraders of chemically inert organic substrates remain elusive. Petroleum reservoirs can be regarded as natural bioreactors and are ideally suited for the study of microbial metabolism in the deep subsurface.
Here we analyse series of oil samples that were biodegraded to different degrees. We found fatty acids after hydrolysis of purified crude oil fractions, indicating the presence of intact phospholipids and suggesting that indigenous bacteria inhabit petroleum reservoirs in sediment depths of up to 2,000 m. A major change in bacterial community structure occurs after the removal of n-alkanes, indicating that more than one consortium is responsible for petroleum degradation.
Our results suggest that further study of petroleum fluids will help understand bacterial metabolism and diversity in this habitat of the deep subsurface.
"Flight recorder" of rocks within the Earth’s crust
16.04.2019 | Universität Bern
More than 90% of glacier volume in the Alps could be lost by 2100
09.04.2019 | European Geosciences Union
A stellar flare 10 times more powerful than anything seen on our sun has burst from an ultracool star almost the same size as Jupiter
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The technology could revolutionize how information travels through data centers and artificial intelligence networks
Engineers at the University of California, Berkeley have built a new photonic switch that can control the direction of light passing through optical fibers...
Physicists observe how electron-hole pairs drift apart at ultrafast speed, but still remain strongly bound.
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Engineers create novel optical devices, including a moth eye-inspired omnidirectional microwave antenna
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