Saturday, March 09, 2013

lake vostok yields new bacterial life

RT | Russian researchers have found unidentified bacteria in waters of the unique sub-glacial Lake Vostok. However, this is not a sensational discovery since the microorganism was found in possible kerosene contaminated waters.

The finding from the water sample taken in May 2012 showed that the bacteria do not belong to any of the existing classes of bacteria. Before the latest discovery, science knew only one species of bacteria that can live under these conditions.

“The last analysis was completed a week ago - there will be another, but the results are unlikely to change anything. After exclusion of all known contaminants - extraneous organisms - bacterial DNA was detected, which does not coincide with any of the known species in the world,” RIA Novosti quotes Sergey Bulat of the St. Petersburg Nuclear Physics Institute in Russia.
However, the discovery turns out not to be that sensational.

“There has been one strain of bacteria which we did not find in drilling liquid, but these bacteria could in principal use kerosene as an energy source,” the head of the laboratory of the same institution, Vladimir Korolev said. "That is why we can’t say that a previously-unknown bacteria was found,” he stressed.

In February 2012 Russian researchers became the first in the world to reach the waters of Lake Vostok after more than decades of drilling work.

This year, on January 10, scientists came up with another record. They managed to reach the fresh ice at a depth of 3383 meters and took samples at 3,406 meters. Ice formed as the water from the lake rose into the hole due to upward-pressure in the crack researchers drilled last February.

Last year Russian scientists managed to drill through 3700 meters of ice, reach the surface of the lake and take 40 liters of prehistoric water. However, those samples, scientists said later, were not clean enough to prove the existence of any kind of life – the water contained some substances of drilling liquid, kerosene and Freon, used while getting through the thick ice.

As recently as March 1, Russian researchers successfully obtained fresh ice samples from the lake as the work continues there. They said it would take months to clarify whether life exists in the fossil water below the 3.5-km deep glacier.

All water samples will be brought to St. Petersburg in May on board the research ship Academic Fyodorov, which is currently working in the Antarctic.


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CNu said...

A Russian scientist over the weekend dismissed earlier claims that water
pulled from a lake buried for millions of years beneath Antarctica
contained a strange new form of microbial life.

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