World-first technology enables study of ancient bacteria

se sediment samples and grow bacteria from them at pressures as high as 1,000 atmospheres. A special ram for the system was produced by the Technical University, Berlin.

As well as studying potentially the deepest organisms on Earth this research might also throw light on the mystery of the Bermuda Triangle by finding out more about the behaviour of the mysterious hydrates.

One theory now suggests that when the covering of "methane ice" which exists over much of the seabed of the Bermuda Triangle becomes unstable; this causes instability of the sea and an explosive mixture of air and methane above. Any ships or planes travelling over the area could sink or catch fire.

"So ancient, deep-sediment bacteria may be a key to sustainable energy in the future and to explaining a few disasters," said Professor Parkes.


Contact: Professor R.John Parkes
Cardiff University

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