Microbiology

Cutting up in the deep

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Science  02 Feb 2018:
Vol. 359, Issue 6375, pp. 531-532
DOI: 10.1126/science.359.6375.531-g

Life in the deep ocean is cut off from sunlight as an energy source. Fixed carbon from the surface—namely, dead microbes and larger organisms—therefore serves as a source of energy at depths below the reach of sunlight. Bergauer et al. analyzed genomic and proteomic data from microorganisms collected at depths down to 4 to 5 km. Microbial transport proteins varied only slightly in abundance with depth, reflecting changes in the abundance of organisms and in lifestyle. Organic acid transporters were found throughout the water column and were more abundant in the deep ocean, suggesting that uptake of dilute dissolved organic matter is crucial for microbial metabolism at these depths.

Proc. Natl. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 10.1073/pnas.1708779115 (2018).

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