Scientists revive 100 million-year-old microbes in a lab

Pablo Tucker
August 1, 2020

In new research, ancient sediment samples have been gathered by Japanese marine scientists ten years ago during an expedition to the South Pacific Gyre, a "desert" in terms of marine biology. The researchers reported that the soils of the seabed were dominated by bacteria, but not of the type that form spores, which means that they were ready to grow as soon as you give them the proper food.

The samples Dr Morono and Dr D'Hondt chose for evaluation came from a place in the Pacific Ocean in which the sea mattress is nearly 6,000 metres down below the surface. "The most exciting part of this study", D'Hondt says, "is that it basically shows that there's no limit to life in the old sediment of Earth's ocean".

Yuki Morono, a geomicrobiologist at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, led the team. That designed drilling a obstacle. But the expedition was capable to recover sediment cores stretching all the way down to the fundamental rock-a thickness of 100 metres in some conditions.


Using DNA and RNA gene profiling, these 101.5-million-year-old microbes were identified as aeorbic, or oxygen-loving, bacteria and the "lack of permeability between the thick seafloor layers" ruled out contamination.

Examination of the sediments showed that even the oldest still contained a couple germs.

"When I found them, I was first sceptical whether the findings are from some mistake or a failure in the experiment", lead author Yuki Morono informed AFP.


The research notes that dormant microbes long before the dinosaurs became extinct were revived after being discovered 10 years ago in ancient sediment samples from the South Pacific Gyre. The workforce observed reps of phyla called Actinobacteria, Bacteroidetes, Firmicutes and Proteobacteria, all of which are familiar to microbiologists. One of the issues brought up was that the samples were contaminated. It is not probable to be confident, specified the duration of time included, that they have been through no development and cell division in any way. Trapped in the sediment levels, they could hardly move or eat. The ooze in question was sealed off by a micro organism-evidence layer of chert-like material known as porcellanite.

This discovery will as a result throw interesting mild on the evolution of microorganisms on Earth. It will also increase the spirits of people who hope to locate lifetime elsewhere in the photo voltaic program.

Speaking on the life in the ocean, URI Graduate School of Oceanography professor and co-author of the study Steven D'Hondt said in the official release: "We knew that there was life in deep sediment near the continents where there's a lot of buried organic matter". And a element of 35, nevertheless huge, does not seem insurmountable.■.


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