Geomicrobiology and occluded O2–CO2–Ar gas analyses provide evidence of microbial respiration in ancient terrestrial ground ice (English)

In: Earth and Planetary Sciences Letters   ;  306 ,  1-2  ;  46-54  ;  2011
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Abstract The study of ancient massive ground ice and sediment-rich ice bodies not only allows an understanding of the stability of permafrost, but also offers the possibility to understand the long-term preservation and viability of microbes within these ice bodies. Although microorganisms have been identified in ancient bodies of ground ice and permafrost, there still is a lack of convincing evidence that the microbes were metabolically active within the ice. In this study, we combine geomicrobiology methods with the measurements of occluded gasses in four ancient massive ground ice bodies to provide evidence of microbial respiration. In our samples, abundant cold-adapted heterotroph microorganisms were identified using culture-dependent and -independent methods. The occluded gas measurements, with low δ(O2/Ar) (less than −21.4%) and δ13CCO2 (as low as −25.2‰) values and high δ18OO2 (up to +16.3‰) values are suggestive of in situ consumption of O2 by heterotrophic psychrophilic bacteria living within the ice matrix. Overall, the multi-disciplinary approach provides a strong set of tools from which to infer metabolic activity within bodies of ground ice. The analysis of δ(O2/Ar), δ18OO2 and δ13CCO2 from occluded gasses in ice are strong isotope biosignatures that could allow detecting evidence of life on other planetary icy bodies such as Mars.

Research highlights ► Analysis of occluded gasses (O2, N2, CO2, Ar, Xe, and Kr) combined with geomicrobiology provide evidence of microbial respiration in ancient terrestrial ground ice bodies. ► Cold-adapted heterotroph microorganisms were identified using culture-dependent and -independent methods and occluded gas measurements, with low δ(O2/Ar) (less than−21.4%) and δ13CCO2 (as low as−25.2‰) values and high δ18OO2 (up to +16.3‰) values are suggestive of in situ consumption of O2 by heterotrophic psychrophilic bacteria living within the ice matrix. ► The multi-disciplinary approach combining geomicrobiology and occluded gasses analysis could be used to detect evidence of ancient life on other cold planetary icy bodies.

Table of contents – Volume 306, Issue 1-2

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1
Iron isotopes in the seawater of the equatorial Pacific Ocean: New constraints for the oceanic iron cycle
Radic, Amandine / Lacan, Francois / Murray, James W. | 2011
11
Sedimentary talc in Neoproterozoic carbonate successions
Tosca, Nicholas J. / Macdonald, Francis A. / Strauss, Justin V. / Johnston, David T. / Knoll, Andrew H. | 2011
23
Contemporary flowstone development links early hominin bearing cave deposits in South Africa
Pickering, Robyn / Kramers, Jan D. / Hancox, Philip John / de Ruiter, Darryl J. / Woodhead, Jon D. | 2011
33
Deformation in the lowermost mantle: From polycrystal plasticity to seismic anisotropy
Wenk, Hans-Rudolf / Cottaar, Sanne / Tomé, Carlos N. / McNamara, Allen / Romanowicz, Barbara | 2011
46
Geomicrobiology and occluded O2–CO2–Ar gas analyses provide evidence of microbial respiration in ancient terrestrial ground ice
Lacelle, Denis / Radtke, Kristin / Clark, Ian D. / Fisher, David / Lauriol, Bernard / Utting, Nicholas / Whyte, Lyle G. | 2011
55
The role of seamounts in the transport of heat and fluids: Relations among seamount size, circulation patterns, and crustal heat flow
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66
New historical archeointensity data from Brazil: Evidence for a large regional non-dipole field contribution over the past few centuries
Hartmann, Gelvam A. / Genevey, Agnès / Gallet, Yves / Trindade, Ricardo I.F. / Le Goff, Maxime / Najjar, Rosana / Etchevarne, Carlos / Afonso, Marisa C. | 2011
77
S receiver function analysis of the crustal and lithospheric structures beneath eastern Tibet
Hu, Jiafu / Xu, Xingqian / Yang, Haiyan / Wen, Limin / Li, Guangquan | 2011
86
On- and off-axis chemical heterogeneities along the South Atlantic Mid-Ocean-Ridge (5–11°S): Shallow or deep recycling of ocean crust and/or intraplate volcanism?
Hoernle, Kaj / Hauff, Folkmar / Kokfelt, Thomas F. / Haase, Karsten / Garbe-Schönberg, Dieter / Werner, Reinhard | 2011
86
On- and off-axis chemical heterogeneities along the South Atlantic Mid-Ocean-Ridge (5-11^oS): Shallow or deep recycling of ocean crust and/or intraplate volcanism?
Hoernle, K. / Hauff, F. / Kokfelt, T. F. / Haase, K. / Garbe-Schonberg, D. / Werner, R. | 2011
98
On the geophysical fingerprint of Vulcanian explosions
Gottsmann, J. / De Angelis, S. / Fournier, N. / Van Camp, M. / Sacks, S. / Linde, A. / Ripepe, M. | 2011
105
Seismic anisotropy and mantle dynamics beneath China
Huang, Zhouchuan / Wang, Liangshu / Zhao, Dapeng / Mi, Ning / Xu, Mingjie | 2011
118
Compressibility change in iron-rich melt and implications for core formation models
Sanloup, C. / van Westrenen, W. / Dasgupta, R. / Maynard-Casely, H. / Perrillat, J.-P. | 2011
123
Pacific geoid anomalies revisited in light of thermochemical oscillating domes in the lower mantle
Cadio, C. / Panet, I. / Davaille, A. / Diament, M. / Métivier, L. / de Viron, O. | 2011
136
Erratum to “On secular geocenter motion: The impact of climate changes” [Earth Planet. Sci. Lett. 296 (2010) 360–366]
Métivier, Laurent / Greff-Lefftz, Marianne / Altamimi, Zuheir | 2011
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Editorial Board
| 2011