Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

A Survivor In Greenland: A Novel Bacterial Species Is Found Trapped In 120,000-year-old Ice

Date:
June 3, 2008
Source:
Penn State
Summary:
Scientists have discovered a new ultra-small species of bacteria that has survived for more than 120,000 years within a Greenland glacier at a depth of nearly two miles. It is among the type of ultra-small bacteria that can pass through microbiological filters, including those used to prepare ultra-purified water for dialysis. Its study may help to reveal how life, in general, can exist in a variety of extreme environments on Earth and elsewhere.

Extruding a core: Scientists extrude the core from its barrel with the utmost care. Any butyl acetate on the core surface is carefully cleaned off before sawing the ice into 2 m sections. The cloudy layers clearly visible in this 6 m core section were formed when dust fell onto the ice sheet and was entrained in the ice.
Credit: Mark Twickler, University of New Hampshire/National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration Paleoclimatology Program/Department of Commerce -- Note: Access to ice-core samples was provided by the National Science Foundation

A team of Penn State scientists has discovered a new ultra-small species of bacteria that has survived for more than 120,000 years within the ice of a Greenland glacier at a depth of nearly two miles. The microorganism's ability to persist in this low-temperature, high-pressure, reduced-oxygen, and nutrient-poor habitat makes it particularly useful for studying how life, in general, can survive in a variety of extreme environments on Earth and possibly elsewhere in the solar system.

The work will be presented by Jennifer Loveland-Curtze, a senior research associate in the laboratory led by Jean Brenchley, Professor of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at Penn State, at the 108th American Society for Microbiology General Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts on 3 June 2008.

This new species is among the ubiquitous, yet mysterious, ultra-small bacteria, which are so tiny that the cells are able to pass through microbiological filters. In fact, some species have been found living in the ultra-purified water used for dialysis. "Ultra-small cells could be unknown contaminants in media and medical solutions that are thought to have been sterilized using filters," said Loveland-Curtze.

The ultra-small size of the new species could be one explanation for why it was able to survive for so long in the Greenland glacier. Called Chryseobacterium greenlandensis, the species is related genetically to certain bacteria found in fish, marine mud, and the roots of some plants. The organism is one of only about 10 scientifically described new species originating from polar ice and glaciers.

To study the bacterium in the laboratory, the research team, which also includes Senior Research Associate Vanya Miteva, filtered the cells from melted ice and incubated them in the cold in low-nutrient, oxygen-free solutions. The scientists then characterized the genetic, physiological, biochemical, and structural features of the species. The team hopes that its studies of this species, as well as others living in the Greenland glacier, will reveal more about how cells survive and how they may alter their biochemistry and physiology over time.

"Microbes comprise up to one-third or more of the Earth's biomass, yet fewer than 8,000 microbes have been described out of the approximately 3,000,000 that are presumed to exist," said Loveland-Curtze. "The description of this one species is a significant step in the overall endeavor to discover, cultivate, and use the special features held by these organisms."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Penn State. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

Penn State. "A Survivor In Greenland: A Novel Bacterial Species Is Found Trapped In 120,000-year-old Ice." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 3 June 2008. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080603104418.htm>.
Penn State. (2008, June 3). A Survivor In Greenland: A Novel Bacterial Species Is Found Trapped In 120,000-year-old Ice. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080603104418.htm
Penn State. "A Survivor In Greenland: A Novel Bacterial Species Is Found Trapped In 120,000-year-old Ice." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/06/080603104418.htm (accessed July 23, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Stone Fruit Listeria Scare Causes Sweeping Recall

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The Wawona Packing Company has issued a voluntary recall on the stone fruit it distributes due to a possible Listeria outbreak. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

Michigan Plant's Goal: Flower and Die

AP (July 22, 2014) An 80-year-old agave plant, which is blooming for the first and only time at a University of Michigan conservatory, will die when it's done (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Huge Schizophrenia Study Finds Dozens Of New Genetic Causes

Newsy (July 22, 2014) The 83 new genetic markers could open dozens of new avenues for schizophrenia treatment research. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

CDC Head Concerned About a Post-Antibiotic Era

AP (July 22, 2014) Sounding alarms about the growing threat of antibiotic resistance, CDC Director Tom Frieden warned Tuesday if the global community does not confront the problem soon, the world will be living in a devastating post-antibiotic era. (July 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins