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Secrets unlocked: “Deep biosphere” shaped by dissolved organic material from Earth’s surface

23.08.2022 11:30

The Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory is an extensive tunnel system near Oskarshamn, Sweden, that reaches almost 500 m deep, extending in part under the Baltic Sea.
The samples used to study the "deep biosphere" were taken from the Äspö Hard Rock Laboratory in Sweden. First author of the study, now published in Nature Communications, is Helena Osterholz from the IOW. (Photo: Margarita Lopez-Fernandez)

A research team with lead author Helena Osterholz from the IOW reports in the latest issue of the journal Nature Communications on possible pathways by which microbial communities in the nutrient-poor “deep biosphere” can ensure survival. Among others, dissolved organic matter (DOM) was investigated in different deep groundwaters. Result: Already in the uppermost layers of the bedrock most of the labile matter is converted. Below that, mixing processes dominate. The remaining refractory DOM leads to the selection of a core microbiome that can feed on this hard-to-digest food.

Read the full press release; for a larger view of the photo, click on it:

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