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Posted by on May 18, 2012 in Science |

Microbes of 86 million years are “live” under the ocean floor

(Cc) * traveler

Can you live 86 million years without eating and with just enough oxygen to maintain metabolism? If you’re a microbe, yes, but barely, says a new study. A community of microbes buried under the ocean floor from the Jurassic era is still there, and his insistence on staying alive raises new questions when analyzing possible life in outer space.

Many germs live in ocean sediments (approximately 90% of single-celled life of the planet is here) and for a long time scientists have investigated the support to find out how such extreme environments. Hans Roy is one of these scientists, who wanted to dig to look worse places, where there is little food and barely oxygen.

Roy and other scientists from Denmark and Germany investigated the depths of the Pacific Ocean around the line of Ecuador and to the north, digging for 42 days to collect samples at 28 meters depth from the ocean floor, dating from the times of the dinosaurs. The microorganisms were reviewed by oxygen sensors, discovered living breathing this item very, very slowly.

The deeper they were, less food and oxygen is present, and less oxygen is used. In fact, these microbes have no access to fresh food since they were buried where they are, makes between 70 and 86 million years. They run so slow it takes about a thousand years to double their biomass, and it may take a thousand years too divided, scientists determined. A common microbe like E. Coli for example, is divided into between 17 and 30 minutes.

This means that to ensure that these microbes are really alive 1,000 years would have to wait and see if they are divided.

The researchers believe this is the absolute limit to which you can find a living organism, with the minimum energy required to keep intact their DNA and protein function. The discovery is interesting, first because these organisms are very old and suggest that we do not know much about them – those in the laboratory are not the same as living under the ocean. Second, they could prove that life continues even in places where it would seem impossible in our world – opening the door for something similar to develop on other planets too.

The research was published in the journal Science .

Link: Buried since the Jurassic era, Ocean microbes are stil ‘barely alive’ (PopSci)

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