Discovered another bacterium capable of living in extreme conditions and that uses hydrogen as an energy source.
It's called Sulfurimonas pluma and, although it comes from hydrothermal vents found at the bottom of the oceans, it evolved by adapting to the open ocean environment.
The research, published in the journal Nature Microbiology, is led by the Italian Massimiliano Molari of the German Max Planck Institute and helps to better understand the impact on the oceans of the many microorganisms that live in extreme conditions.
"In the oceans and in particular near the oceanic ridges, i.e. the underwater mountain ranges due to the rising of magma, there are fractures from which hydrothermal fluids rich in gas and metals escape) around which microorganisms live in extreme conditions", Molari told the 'HANDLE.
These microorganisms use the energy obtained from sulfur and hydrogen to support the food chain in these which are real oases of life and biodiversity.
Furthermore, the hydrothermal fluids, with very high temperatures, mixing with the cold deep sea waters generate plumes that can extend for thousands of kilometers.
The microorganisms that inhabit them are still poorly understood, although they play a key role in modifying both the chemistry of the oceans and the organisms that inhabit them.
In water samples taken from some plumes, the researchers identified the new bacterium that.
unlike its closest relatives, it can use hydrogen as its main energy source.
"Finding bacteria of the genus Sulfurimonas in that environment and in such quantities was a surprise," said Molari.
Probably the new species could derive from an ancestor in common with the hydrothermal species, but which would have acquired a greater tolerance to oxygen allowing it to live also in the oceans, and not only near the sources from which gases escape from the earth's crust.
"It is a discovery which on the one hand makes us understand something new about microbial diversity and the complex mechanisms that occur in the oceans and on the other - concluded the Italian researcher - it gives us a lot of information to imagine similar environments that could be present in other celestial bodies, such as Enceladus or Europa".