Microbe from the Deep


NAME: Bacillus infernus

IMAGE CREDITS: Henry Aldrich
email: haldrich@micro.ifas.ufl.edu

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What lives under several kilometers of dirt and rock, away from oxygen and light? No plant nor animal can tolerate these conditions. Only microbes, like Bacillus infernus featured here, can thrive deep underground.

Deep underground most organisms would choke from lack of oxygen, but not this bacterium! It doesn't need to breath oxygen. Instead, it breathes iron or manganese dioxide. Bacteria that do not breathe oxygen are called anaerobes.

This particular microbe was found a mile beneathe the surface in Virginia. It was isolated by Dave Boone and others who discovered it in an NSF sponsored deep drilling project.

For more in-depth, technical information see: Boone, D. R., Y. Liu, Z. Zhao, D. L. Balkwill, G. R. Drake, T. O. Stevens, and H. C. Aldrich.1995. Bacillus infernus sp. nov., an Fe(III)- and Mn(IV)-reducing anaerobe from the deep terrestrial subsurface. Int. J. Syst. Bacteriol. 45:441-448.



bacterium - (plural = bacteria) - a simple, small microbe lacking a nucleus. Bacteria are also called prokaryotes or monerans. Most bacteria are unicellular, containing only a single cell. Sometimes bacteria appear multicellular, living together in groups of cells. Bacteria comprise two of the three domains of life, the Eubacteria and the Archaea.


 © 1999 Comm Tech Lab, Michigan State University. This work was created with support from the National Science Foundation and the Center for Microbial Ecology at Michigan State University. Current maintenance is supported by the International Society for Microbial Ecology and the Comm Tech Lab.