A team of researchers has managed to revive microbes that were trapped under the seafloor for more than 100 million years. The mixed team of researchers found the microbes while it explored the inhospitable environment found beneath the seafloor of the Pacific Ocean.
The major aim of the study was to learn how long microbes can survive without food. During an experiment, it was revealed that the microbes could be revived quite fast with the help of a small amount of food and some additional oxygen.
Living on the edge
Such endurance is impressive as microbes who leave under the seafloor are exposed to harsh conditions. The pressure of the water on the seabed is intense, and oxygen, nutrients, and energy supplies are quite scarce at such depths. In most cases, lif trapped in high-pressure environments will end up as fossils.
Previous research revealed that life could be founded in deep sediments located near continents, as the organic matter was dragged into the water and buried. However, the researchers were surprised when they were able to find life in the rocks that can be found under the seafloor.
Old samples, new information
The samples used in the study were collected during a 2010 expedition to the South Pacific Gyre. This area has appeared to be lifeless since it is known to be deprived of food and lifeforms, as well as being afflicted by plastic pollution.
Oxygen-consuming microbes were observed through each layer of the core samples and in all the samples that were extracted fro the South Pacific Gyre. Up to 99% of the microbes were revived even in the case of the oldest samples, as researchers fed them their favorite food and sealed them in glass containers, which were opened at specific intervals.
More information can be found in the study, which was published in a scientific journal.