Microbial Activity at Gigapascal Pressures

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Science  22 Feb 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5559, pp. 1514-1516
DOI: 10.1126/science.1068018

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We observed physiological and metabolic activity ofShewanella oneidensis strain MR1 and Escherichia coli strain MG1655 at pressures of 68 to 1680 megapascals (MPa) in diamond anvil cells. We measured biological formate oxidation at high pressures (68 to 1060 MPa). At pressures of 1200 to 1600 MPa, living bacteria resided in fluid inclusions in ice-VI crystals and continued to be viable upon subsequent release to ambient pressures (0.1 MPa). Evidence of microbial viability and activity at these extreme pressures expands by an order of magnitude the range of conditions representing the habitable zone in the solar system.

  • * To whom correspondence should be addressed. E-mail: sharma{at} (A.S.); j.scott{at} (J.H.S.)

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