Report

Long-Term Sustainability of a High-Energy, Low-Diversity Crustal Biome

Science  20 Oct 2006:
Vol. 314, Issue 5798, pp. 479-482
DOI: 10.1126/science.1127376

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Abstract

Geochemical, microbiological, and molecular analyses of alkaline saline groundwater at 2.8 kilometers depth in Archaean metabasalt revealed a microbial biome dominated by a single phylotype affiliated with thermophilic sulfate reducers belonging to Firmicutes. These sulfate reducers were sustained by geologically produced sulfate and hydrogen at concentrations sufficient to maintain activities for millions of years with no apparent reliance on photosynthetically derived substrates.

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