Characterisation of Yeasts isolated from deep igneous rock aquifers of the fennoscandian shield
Artikel i vetenskaplig tidskrift, 2003

The diversity of prokaryotes in the groundwater deep below the surface of the Baltic Sea at the Aspo Hard Rock Laboratory (HRL) in southeast Sweden is well documented. In addition, there is some evidence that eukaryotes, too, are present in the deep groundwater at this site, although their origins are uncertain. To extend the knowledge of eukaryotic life in this environment, five yeast, three yeastlike, and 17 mold strains were isolated from Aspo HRL groundwater between 201 and 444 m below sea level. Phenotypic testing and phylogenetic analysis of 18S rDNA sequences of the five yeast isolates revealed their relationships to Rhodotorula minuta and Cryptococcus spp. Scanning and transmission electron microscopy demonstrated that the strains possessed morphological characteristics typical for yeast, although they were relatively small, with an average length of 3 mum. Enumeration through direct counting and most probable number methods showed low numbers of fungi, between 0.01 and 1 cells mL(-1), at some sites. Five of the strains were characterized physiologically to determine whether they were adapted to life in the deep biosphere. These studies revealed that the strains grew within a pH range of 4-10, between temperatures of 4degreesC and 25-30degreesC, and in NaCl concentrations from 0 to 70 g L-1. These growth parameters suggest a degree of adaptation to the groundwater at Aspo HRL. Despite the fact that these eukaryotic microorganisms may be transient members of the deep biosphere microbial community, many of the observations of this study suggest that they are capable of growing in this extreme environment.

southeastern sweden




microbial life

terrestrial subsurface

subsurface sediments


sp nov.

granitic aquifers


Susanne Ekendahl

Göteborgs universitet

A. H. O'Neill

Göteborgs universitet

Elisabeth Thomsson

Göteborgs universitet

Karsten Pedersen

Göteborgs universitet

Microbial Ecology

0095-3628 (ISSN) 1432-184X (eISSN)

Vol. 46 4 416-428


Biologiska vetenskaper



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