skip to main content


Title: Deep subsurface life from North Pond: Enrichment, isolation, characterization and genomes of heterotrophic bacteria

Studies of subsurface microorganisms have yielded few environmentally relevant isolates for laboratory studies. In order to address this lack of cultivated microorganisms, we initiated several enrichments on sediment and underlying basalt samples from North Pond, a sediment basin ringed by basalt outcrops underlying an oligotrophic watercolumn west of the Mid-Atlantic Ridge at 22° N. In contrast to anoxic enrichments, growth was observed in aerobic, heterotrophic enrichments from sediment of IODP Hole U1382B at 4 and 68 m below seafloor (mbsf). These sediment depths, respectively, correspond to the fringes of oxygen penetration from overlying seawater in the top of the sediment column and upward migration of oxygen from oxic seawater from the basalt aquifer below the sediment. Here we report the enrichment, isolation, initial characterization and genomes of three isolated aerobic heterotrophs from North Pond sediments; an Arthrobacter species from 4 mbsf, and Paracoccus and Pseudomonas species from 68 mbsf. These cultivated bacteria are represented in the amplicon 16S rRNA gene libraries created from whole sediments, albeit at low (up to 2%) relative abundance. We provide genomic evidence from our isolates demonstrating that the Arthrobacter and Pseudomonas isolates have the potential to respire nitrate and oxygen, though dissimilatory nitrate reduction couldmore » not be confirmed in laboratory cultures. Furthermore, the cultures from this study represent members of abundant phyla, as determined by amplicon sequencing of environmental DNA extracts, and allow for further studies into geochemical factors impacting life in the deep subsurface.« less
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [1]
  1. Univ. of Delaware, Lewes, DE, (United States)
  2. The Ohio State Univ., Columbus, OH (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
OCE-0939564; SAF-12-05; PEA336; AC02-05CH11231
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Frontiers in Microbiology
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 1664-302X
Frontiers Research Foundation
Research Org:
Lawrence Berkeley National Lab. (LBNL), Berkeley, CA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC)
Country of Publication:
United States
59 BASIC BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES; deep biosphere; bacteria; cultivation; genome; amplicon
OSTI Identifier: