Culturable prokaryotic diversity of deep, gas hydrate sediments: first use of a continuous high-pressure, anaerobic, enrichment and isolation system for subseafloor sediments (DeepIsoBUG)

Environ Microbiol. 2009 Dec;11(12):3140-53. doi: 10.1111/j.1462-2920.2009.02018.x. Epub 2009 Aug 19.


Deep subseafloor sediments may contain depressurization-sensitive, anaerobic, piezophilic prokaryotes. To test this we developed the DeepIsoBUG system, which when coupled with the HYACINTH pressure-retaining drilling and core storage system and the PRESS core cutting and processing system, enables deep sediments to be handled without depressurization (up to 25 MPa) and anaerobic prokaryotic enrichments and isolation to be conducted up to 100 MPa. Here, we describe the system and its first use with subsurface gas hydrate sediments from the Indian Continental Shelf, Cascadia Margin and Gulf of Mexico. Generally, highest cell concentrations in enrichments occurred close to in situ pressures (14 MPa) in a variety of media, although growth continued up to at least 80 MPa. Predominant sequences in enrichments were Carnobacterium, Clostridium, Marinilactibacillus and Pseudomonas, plus Acetobacterium and Bacteroidetes in Indian samples, largely independent of media and pressures. Related 16S rRNA gene sequences for all of these Bacteria have been detected in deep, subsurface environments, although isolated strains were piezotolerant, being able to grow at atmospheric pressure. Only the Clostridium and Acetobacterium were obligate anaerobes. No Archaea were enriched. It may be that these sediment samples were not deep enough (total depth 1126-1527 m) to obtain obligate piezophiles.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Bacteria / classification
  • Bacteria / isolation & purification*
  • Cell Culture Techniques / methods*
  • Environmental Monitoring
  • Geologic Sediments / microbiology*
  • Oceans and Seas
  • Seawater / microbiology*