Sunday 20 December 2020

Bacteria dug up from beneath the seabed are 100 million years old


Microbes that have been hibernating deep below the Pacific Ocean since the reign of the dinosaurs have been revived in the lab. Some may be 100 million years old, perhaps making them the longest-lived life forms on Earth.

We already know that microbes can survive deep below our planet’s surface, even though nutrients are generally scarce. Biologists suspect that the microbes enter a minimally active mode to stay alive. But whether they can emerge unscathed has been unclear.

Now a team led by Steven D’Hondt at the University of Rhode Island and Yuki Morono at the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology has studied about 7000 individuals of a bacterium found living in mud 75 metres beneath the sea floor, 5700-metres-deep in the South Pacific Ocean.

Posted by Dr. Tim Sandle, Pharmaceutical Microbiology Resources (

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