Bacteria in Permafrost

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Significant numbers of viable ancient microorganisms are known to be present within the permafrost. They have been isolated in both polar regions from the cores up to 400 m deep and ground temperatures of -27 C. The age of the cells corresponds to the longevity of the permanently frozen state of the soils, with the oldest cells dating back to {approx}3 million years in the Arctic, and {approx}5 million years in the Antarctic. They are the only life forms known to have retained viability over geological time. Thawing of the permafrost renews their physiological activity and exposes ancient life to ... continued below

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Gilichinsky, David A.; Vishnivetskaya, Tatiana A.; Petrova, Maya A.; Spirina, Elena V.; Mamikin, Vladimir & Rivkina, Elizaveta January 1, 2008.

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  • Gilichinsky, David A. Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science, Russian Academy of Sciences
  • Vishnivetskaya, Tatiana A. ORNL
  • Petrova, Maya A. Institute of Molecular Genetics, Russian Academy of Sciences
  • Spirina, Elena V. Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science, Russian Academy of Sciences
  • Mamikin, Vladimir Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science, Russian Academy of Sciences
  • Rivkina, Elizaveta Institute of Physicochemical and Biological Problems in Soil Science, Russian Academy of Sciences

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Description

Significant numbers of viable ancient microorganisms are known to be present within the permafrost. They have been isolated in both polar regions from the cores up to 400 m deep and ground temperatures of -27 C. The age of the cells corresponds to the longevity of the permanently frozen state of the soils, with the oldest cells dating back to {approx}3 million years in the Arctic, and {approx}5 million years in the Antarctic. They are the only life forms known to have retained viability over geological time. Thawing of the permafrost renews their physiological activity and exposes ancient life to modern ecosystems. Thus, the permafrost represents a stable and unique physicochemical complex, which maintains life incomparably longer than any other known habitats. If we take into account the depth of the permafrost layers, it is easy to conclude that they contain a total microbial biomass many times higher than that of the soil cover. This great mass of viable matter is peculiar to permafrost only.

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  • Report No.: None
  • Grant Number: DE-AC05-00OR22725
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 963404
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc929740

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Office of Scientific & Technical Information Technical Reports

Reports, articles and other documents harvested from the Office of Scientific and Technical Information.

Office of Scientific and Technical Information (OSTI) is the Department of Energy (DOE) office that collects, preserves, and disseminates DOE-sponsored research and development (R&D) results that are the outcomes of R&D projects or other funded activities at DOE labs and facilities nationwide and grantees at universities and other institutions.

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Creation Date

  • January 1, 2008

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Nov. 13, 2016, 7:26 p.m.

Description Last Updated

  • April 16, 2018, 5:45 p.m.

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Gilichinsky, David A.; Vishnivetskaya, Tatiana A.; Petrova, Maya A.; Spirina, Elena V.; Mamikin, Vladimir & Rivkina, Elizaveta. Bacteria in Permafrost, book, January 1, 2008; Berlin Heidelberg, Germany. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc929740/: accessed September 24, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.