In the Mariana trench discovered the bacteria that feed on oil
02:24 Today’s Telegraph naked-science.ru Photo: naked-science.ru science news: In the deepest part of the oceans was discovered microbial populations that feed on oil.
Scientists from the University of East Anglia (UEA) have discovered unique bacteria that feed on oil in the deepest part of the earth’s oceans — the Mariana trench. Together with researchers from China and Russia, they conducted the most comprehensive analysis of its microbial populations. The study described in the article of the journal Microbiome.
The Mariana trench located in Western Pacific ocean. It reaches a depth of almost 11 thousand metres. For comparison, mount Everest — 8848 meters high. The study of organisms living in this ecosystem, was involved in a few expeditions. One of them was organized and conducted marine researcher and winner of the American Academy of motion picture arts and Sciences, Director James Cameron.
“Our research team went to collect samples of microbial populations in the deepest part of the Mariana trench — at a depth of about 11 thousand meters, says Dr. Jonathan Todd from UEA. — We have studied these samples and identified a new group uglevodorodnogo bacteria.” Hydrocarbons — organic compound consisting entirely of hydrogen atoms and carbon, it is very common and is found even in the crude petroleum and natural gas.
“These types of microorganisms essentially feed on compounds similar to those present in oil, and then use them as fuel,” explains Todd.
The team found that in the Mariana trench, the highest ratio uglevodorodnogo bacteria on Earth. Scientists have isolated some of these microbes and demonstrated that they absorb hydrocarbons in the laboratory in conditions simulating the Mariana trench. To understand where are the hydrocarbons, which feed on these bacteria, the team analyzed samples of sea water from the surface, and to precipitation to the bottom of the trench.
“We know that hydrocarbons exist at a depth of six thousand meters from the surface of the ocean and probably even deeper, says Dr. Nicholas Pedenchuk from UEA. —A significant portion is probably due to contamination of the surface of the ocean. To our surprise, we also found biologically produced hydrocarbons in oceanic sediment at depths of the depression. This suggests that in this environment, the hydrocarbons produces a unique microbial population. These hydrocarbons are similar to compounds that comprise diesel fuel, had previously been identified in algae on the ocean surface, but never to the microbes at these depths”.
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Scientists believe that these hydrocarbons may help microbes survive the crushing pressure at the bottom of the Mariana trench. The connection can also serve as a food source for other microbes that can also absorb contaminants and hydrocarbons that reach the ocean floor.
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