American scientists from the University of Texas at Austin discovered at the bottom of the Gulf of California colonies of bacteria that can help us in the fight against marine pollution and rising levels of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. Microorganisms were found at a depth of about 2000 meters in the basin of the Guaymas Basin and, apparently, they exist perfectly there, even despite the underwater volcanic activity that warms up the surrounding space to 200 degrees Celsius. The researchers told about their discovery in the journal Nature Communications.
From the samples of bottom sediments, scientists have extracted 551 DNA microbes, 22 of which were not previously known. New species are genetically so different from those previously studied that they occupy new branches in the microbial tree.
The researchers say that the detected bacteria belong to the class of extremophiles. They are able to exist in extreme conditions at very low or very high temperatures, as well as high pressure and other uninhabitable conditions. Found microbes feed on hydrocarbon gases such as methane, propane, butane, which are found on the ocean floor.
“Our finding shows how diverse life can be on the ocean floor. There are even microscopic organisms that can break down oil and other harmful chemicals. Under the ocean floor contains large reserves of hydrocarbon gases, including methane, propane, butane and others. These microbes prevent the spread of greenhouse gases and prevent them from rising into the atmosphere, ” explains the head of the study Brett Baker.
According to scientists, bacteria not only protect against emissions of harmful gases into the atmosphere, but may one day be useful for cleaning oil spills.
In order to get a more complete picture of how these microbes process harmful substances and what role they play in the biochemical cycle of conversion of carbon dioxide into oxygen, scientists plan to conduct a new collection of samples.