Bacteria revived after 100 million years dormant
Published: 09:58 AM, 30 July 2020
Ancient microbes from deep within the seafloor have been found to “revive and multiply” in the laboratory after laying dormant for more than 100 million years.
Scientists in the US and Japan have found that these deep-sea microorganisms were capable of growing and dividing, even after remaining in an energy-saving state since dinosaurs roamed the planet.
The researchers said their findings, published in the journal Nature Communications, initially took them by surprise.
Germs are the smallest species in the world. They can survive in difficult adversity; again, many powerful germs cannot survive. Scientists incubate dormant germs. This has increased the intake and number of germs.
Lead author Yuki Morono, from the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology (JAMSTEC), said: “Our main question was whether life could exist in such a nutrient-limited environment or if this was a lifeless zone. And we wanted to know how long the microbes could sustain their life in a near-absence of food.”
Study author Professor Steven D’Hondt, of the Graduate School of Oceanography, University of Rhode Island, US, said: “We knew that there was life in deep sediment near the continents where there’s a lot of buried organic matter.
“But what we found was that life extends in the deep ocean from the seafloor all the way to the underlying rocky basement.”
Previous research has shown how bacteria live in hostile environments. It can even survive without oxygen in the bottom of the ocean floor.
Morono also said that the new germs have shown that some of the world's most basic living structures "have no real idea of life span."