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Image : Microbiology and Biogeochemistry of Autotrophic Microbes in the Subsurface at Hydrothermal Vents: Filamentous-Sulfur Producing Bacteria

Rapid and voluminous in situ formation of microbial filamentous sulfur can occur at hydrothermal vents. When a titanium container was placed within the active warm water flow (20-40C) at M vent at 9N EPR during a cruise in Dec, 1997 a mat accumulated on the titanium surfaces to a thickness of ≈ 0.5 cm in two days and up to 3 cm by 10 to 11 days (A to C). Phase photomicrograph of filamentous sulfur mat produced in situ and associated microorganisms (D and E; v = vibrio; c = chain of rod-shaped organisms). Sulfur filament forming microbes from hydrothermal vent inocula were successfully grown in shipboard continuous culture (F). Filamentous sulfur produced in these shipboard reactors was identical to that produced in situ (G). Fixation of CO2 (20.5 nmolC fixed ml-1 hr-1) by shipboard reactor samples was commensurate with reactor samples of the coastal strain (17.4 +/- 9.6 nmolC fixed ml-1 hr-1) indicating the two populations are similarly autotrophic. (H) Microorganisms from shipboard laboratory reactor. (I) Coastal sulfur-filament-producing microorganism.


Last updated: March 13, 2012

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