Busy microbial world found in deepest ocean crust ever explored

Last Updated: Sat, Nov 20, 2010 10:00 hrs

Scientists have discovered bacteria with a remarkable range of capabilities, including eating hydrocarbons and natural gas, and "fixing" or storing carbon, in the deepest layer of ocean crust ever explored.

The research showed that a significant number and amount of bacterial forms were present, even in temperatures near the boiling point of water.

"This is a new ecosystem that almost no one has ever explored," said Martin Fisk, a professor in the College of Oceanic and Atmospheric Sciences at Oregon State University.

"We expected some bacterial forms, but the long list of biological functions that are taking place so deep beneath the Earth is surprising."

The study has been published in the journal PLoS One. (ANI)

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