Crystals, rocks and mineral ores of different origins contain viable microbial life that appears actively swimming under the microscope when the sample is properly fragmented and suspended in a nutrient medium. This form of life in rocks is unaffected by time, since microbes have been found in samples of all geological ages, from about 2.8 Ga to recent rocks, and by pressure and temperature, since it is present in metamorphic and in igneous rocks. From the tests performed, among which those to secure from sample pollution, it emerges that this form of life is not destroyed, as indeed expected, when the rock is heated above 500 °C in a kiln. However, all cloned microbes are sensitive to growth inhibition by specific antibiotics. A similar search, for the presence of microbes in meteorites, shows that also these materials are rich in microorganisms, indicating that these already existed in early Earth formation stages. Some different microbial species, derived from different samples of rocks and meteorites, have been cultured, cloned and classified by 16S rDNA typing and found to be not essentially different from present day organisms An interesting consequence of these findings, among others, is the support to the hypothesis that life came from outside Earth with the additional indication that it was already present in those materials that accreted to form the solar planetary system.

Microbes in rocks and meteorites: A new form of life unaffected by time, temperature, pressure

D'Argenio B.
Primo
Membro del Collaboration Group
;
Geraci G.
Penultimo
Supervision
;
del Gaudio R.
Ultimo
Writing – Review & Editing
2001

Abstract

Crystals, rocks and mineral ores of different origins contain viable microbial life that appears actively swimming under the microscope when the sample is properly fragmented and suspended in a nutrient medium. This form of life in rocks is unaffected by time, since microbes have been found in samples of all geological ages, from about 2.8 Ga to recent rocks, and by pressure and temperature, since it is present in metamorphic and in igneous rocks. From the tests performed, among which those to secure from sample pollution, it emerges that this form of life is not destroyed, as indeed expected, when the rock is heated above 500 °C in a kiln. However, all cloned microbes are sensitive to growth inhibition by specific antibiotics. A similar search, for the presence of microbes in meteorites, shows that also these materials are rich in microorganisms, indicating that these already existed in early Earth formation stages. Some different microbial species, derived from different samples of rocks and meteorites, have been cultured, cloned and classified by 16S rDNA typing and found to be not essentially different from present day organisms An interesting consequence of these findings, among others, is the support to the hypothesis that life came from outside Earth with the additional indication that it was already present in those materials that accreted to form the solar planetary system.
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11588/891183
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