Bacteria Frozen for 8 Million Years In Polar Ice Resuscitated

Posted on August 7, 2007  Comments (2)

Eight-million-year-old bug is alive and growing

Kay Bidle of Rutgers University in New Jersey, US, and his colleagues extracted DNA and bacteria from ice found between 3 and 5 metres beneath the surface of a glacier in the Beacon and Mullins valleys of Antarctica. The ice gets older as it flows down the valleys and the researchers took five samples that were between 100,000 and 8 million years old.

They then attempted to resuscitate the organisms in the oldest and the youngest samples. “We tried to grow them in media, and the young stuff grew really fast. We could plate them and isolate colonies,” says Bidle. The cultures grown from organisms found in the 100,000-year-old ice doubled in size every 7 days on average.

Whereas the young ice contained a variety of microorganisms, the researchers found only one type of bacterium in the 8-million-year-old sample. It also grew in the laboratory but much more slowly, doubling only every 70 days.

Related: What is an Extremophile?

2 Responses to “Bacteria Frozen for 8 Million Years In Polar Ice Resuscitated”

  1. Curious Cat Science and Engineering Blog » Life Far Beneath the Ocean
    May 22nd, 2008 @ 11:07 pm

    “samples of a mud core extracted from between 860 metres and 1626 metres beneath the sea floor off the coast of Newfoundland. They found simple organisms known as prokaryotes in every sample….”

  2. CuriousCat: Too Toxic for Microorganisms - Not
    July 12th, 2008 @ 11:50 am

    “the researchers identified it as Euglena mutabilis, a protozoan which has the remarkable ability of being able to survive in the toxic waters of the Berkeley Pit by altering its local environment to something more hospitable…”

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