Preservation of ancestral Cretaceous microflora recovered from a hypersaline oil reservoir

Sci Rep. 2016 Mar 11;6:22960. doi: 10.1038/srep22960.


Microbiology of a hypersaline oil reservoir located in Central Africa was investigated with molecular and culture methods applied to preserved core samples. Here we show that the community structure was partially acquired during sedimentation, as many prokaryotic 16S rRNA gene sequences retrieved from the extracted DNA are phylogenetically related to actual Archaea inhabiting surface evaporitic environments, similar to the Cretaceous sediment paleoenvironment. Results are discussed in term of microorganisms and/or DNA preservation in such hypersaline and Mg-rich solutions. High salt concentrations together with anaerobic conditions could have preserved microbial/molecular diversity originating from the ancient sediment basin wherein organic matter was deposited.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Africa, Central
  • Archaea / chemistry
  • Archaea / genetics*
  • Magnesium / chemistry
  • Oil and Gas Fields / chemistry
  • Oil and Gas Fields / microbiology*
  • Phylogeny*
  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S / genetics*
  • Salinity


  • RNA, Ribosomal, 16S
  • Magnesium